By JK Varma
- India cancels Indo-Pak Foreign Ministers meet
- Glorification of terrorists by Pakistani government
New Delhi. 26 September 2018. India cancelled the resumption of talks with Pakistan within 24 hours of agreeing for the meeting of Foreign Ministers of both the countries. Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had to meet in the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meeting at New York next week. India agreed to resume the dialogue, after receipt of a letter from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in which he requested to resume the dialogue.
The dialogue was in suspension since 2016, when Pakistan sponsored terrorist outfits carried out several terrorist attacks in India. However the most deadly terrorist act was on, an army camp at Uri on 18 September, 2016, in which 19 valiant soldiers were martyred. Security forces also exterminated four terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba who were involved in the attack.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), spokesman Raveesh Kumar, while cancelling the Indo-Pak talks stated on 21st, September that “Since yesterday, the announcement of a meeting between foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place. The brutal killing of our security personnel by Pakistan entities and the recent release of series of 20 postal stamps by Pakistan in which it had glorified terrorists, has forced India to cancel the talks.”
In a hard hitting statement MEA spokesman mentioned that the “The true face of Imran Khan has been exposed in his first few months in office”. In fact Pakistan was playing a dual game Imran Khan wrote a letter to Prime Minister Modi on September 15 to resume the dialogue while the notorious Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) supported terrorist outfits have enhanced their activities.
On 21 September, three Jammu and Kashmir police personnel were abducted from their houses and killed mercilessly. Not only was this, on 18 September, a head constable of Border Security Force (BSF) kidnapped from international borders. BSF jawan was on patrol duty and Pakistan Rangers started unprovoked firing with malicious intention of helping Border Action Team (BAT). The infamous BAT which consists of personnel of Pakistan security forces and terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen kill Indian security forces and mutilate their bodies.
Indian security forces requested Pak Rangers to jointly search the missing BSF personnel but Pak Rangers have refused to cooperate and after sometime the mutilated body of head constable Narendra Singh was recovered. BAT had done the dastardly task before also on Line of Control in Kashmir, but this was the first time when Pakistan security forces resorted to this reprehensible deed on International Border. The patrol party was engaged in clearing the elephant grass near the borders as the Pakistani infiltrators hide in the grass. Pakistani security agencies which are involved in infiltrating the terrorists resorted to firing to obstruct the clearing of the elephant grass.
In an another disingenuous act Pakistan postal department released 20 commemorative postage stamps depicting killed Kashmiri terrorists as victims, while Indian security forces were exhibited as brutal force who are violating the human rights of Kashmiris. These stamps were issued on ‘Kashmir Martyrs Day’. Burhan Muzaffar Wani the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was killed by security forces in Anantnag in July 2016. Wani was portrayed as a ‘freedom icon’. These stamps would be used as propaganda material in Pakistan as well as in international arena to malign Indian security forces and illustrate Kashmiri terrorists as freedom fighters. Few stamps were also captioned as ‘use of pellet guns’, ‘use of chemical weapons’ ‘mass graves’ etc. The philatelists mention that stamps are in poor taste as they are used to distort facts and slander India.
As a matter of fact the initial statement of Imran Khan where he stated that “If India takes one step, Pakistan will take two” and also mentioned that Kashmir is a stumbling block, and it should be resolved under the framework of UN Resolution itself cleared the malafide intention of the cricketer turned politician. The UN resolution is outdated and obsolete and in past it could not be implemented as Pakistan has not withdrawn its troops from Kashmir. Secondly Kashmir issue is very complicated and both countries have totally opposite views, hence initially there cannot be any amicable settlement. If Pakistan government wants peace with India first of all it must stop cross-border terrorism and should dismantle the big infrastructure it created to help terrorists.
India accorded Most favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan in 1996 but the later has not reciprocated so far. Nonetheless in case of China both countries accorded MFN status simultaneously in 2013. There are immense possibilities of increasing trade between both the countries hence Pakistan should give MFN status to India so that trade can increase. Once trade enhances other issues can also be resolved slowly.
Imran Khan became Prime Minster because of assistance rendered by Pakistan army. After taking over as Prime Minister he visited Army Hqrs as well as Hqrs of ISI and appreciated the services of rogue intelligence agency. After Khan became Prime Minister, ISI and terrorist outfits sponsored by it have increased their nefarious activities manifold. According to intelligence reports about 350-400 fully trained terrorists are waiting near India Pakistan border to infiltrate as the number of hardcore trained terrorists is decreasing in the valley. Unfortunately radicalisation have increased hence few local Kashmiri youths have also joined terrorist outfits but they are mostly untrained hence their shelf life is limited.
At present there is good cohesion between security agencies and they are getting actionable and pinpointed intelligence. Security forces eliminated 25 terrorists last month while in 2018 more than 143 terrorists are killed. The terrorists are aware that the local police and SPOs collect actionable intelligence hence they are threatening them as well as their family members. Terrorists want to smash the intelligence gathering mechanism of the security forces. Several commanders of terrorist outfits are killed and the junior leadership is finding difficult to safeguard them.
Recently terrorists kidnapped ten close family members of police personnel, although they were released later on, but terrorists gave stern warning, that the security forces should not touch family members of terrorists and police personnel and SPOs should relinquish their jobs. There are conflicting reports that few SPOs have tendered their resignations while government agencies mention that they have not received any resignations so far.
Government has announced local bodies’ elections, while three prominent terrorist organisations L-e-T, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad jointly warned the masses including political parties not to participate in the elections. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), consisting of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik and few political parties also refused to participate in the elections. The ISI and its lackeys will try their best so that local bodies elections could not be held and even if government continues with its plan then they will announce shutdowns, strikes and bunds so that candidates and voters do not participate in the forthcoming polls.
There are reports that ISI has renewed its assistance to secessionists who are demanding Khalistan and also cultivating Rohingya Muslims residing in pitiable conditions in Bangladesh. Both Imran Khan and other ministers shed crocodile tears on cancellation of talks. Khan alleged that India’s attitude was “arrogant” and “negative”. His statement that “all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture” was inopportune and undiplomatic. Both Qureshi and information minister Fawad Chaudhry also criticised Indian decision to cancel the talks.
In reality, Pakistan’s relations with India are directly handled by the deep state and the civilian government has to follow the instructions. There are several examples that whenever civilian government made sincere efforts to have peace with India, deep state had conducted some operation and sabotaged the peace attempts. At present Pakistan is facing major economic crisis and US had already suspended aid twice in 2018. Hence Imran Khan offered to resume negotiations with India to project that Pakistan wants peace with its neighbours. It was a trap and unfortunately India fallen in it. India should not accept any offer of negotiation unless Pakistan first stops cross border terrorism.
(Jai Kumar Verma is a Delhi-based strategic analyst and a retired senior intelligence officer. He is also member of United Services Institute of India and Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. The views in the article are solely the author’s. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)