In the wee hours of 18th January Pakistan Rangers and army in combination began firing and shelling mortars on our BSF posts but more particularly and pointedly on our civilian border dwellers. This time Pakistan Rangers, now functioning together with Pakistan army have opened the front all along the LoC and the International Border in three districts of Kathua, Samba and Jammu. Firing continued for two full days with Pakistan heavy firearms targeting civilian population. Pakistani firing has caused substantial loss to us in men and material.
Pakistan firing and shelling so deep in our area along the IB has caused fear and panic among the border dwellers thousands of whom had to leave their homes and seek shelter in bunkers or far away with their relatives. Many have sought shelter in school buildings or worshipping place in pursuit of safety. Bombarding and firing at civilians and destroying civilian houses is a crime according to international law besides being the violation of the cease fire agreement between the two sides concluded in 2003. India summoned the Pakistani emissary and conveyed to him Government of India’s displeasure on an act of active hostility that has caused death to civilians and security forces without giving Pakistan any reason for unprovoked active hostility.
The LoC and the IB have been witnessing active exchange of fire between the two sides each accusing the other of breach of international law and cease fire accepted bilaterally way back in 2003. The crucial question is what has prompted Pakistan to initiate widespread fighting across the LoC and the IB? What has made her accelerate hostility so as to make entire LoC live. The narrative merits good analysis and insights. Pakistan is hard pressed by the US asking her to act against the terrorist leaders fighting state forces in Afghanistan but having safe havens in Pakistan in Quetta sector close to Afghan – Pakistan boundary. Trump has been ruthless in calling Pakistan a liar and deceitful. He has evidence to show to the world that Pakistan is the epicenter of world terrorism. But Pakistan feels she is cornered for the simple reason that she cannot absolve herself of using double standards against the US-NATO forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. A Pakistani court exonerated the known Mumbai attack conspirator and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and this has created doubts in the mind of American policy planners that Pakistan is playing the double game and that is why Trump called her a liar and deceitful. Pakistan is frustrated and demoralized for being sidelined by the US of which she once happened to be the more aligned than the allies.
With India and Israel coming closer in the aftermath of the recent visit to India of Israel Prime Minister, Pakistan feels that some forces are ganging up against her. The other day Chairman of Pakistani Senate on a visit to Tehran told the Iranian supreme religious leader that the US, Israel and India had formed nexus against the Muslims of the world. This depicts sheer frustration and nothing else. Pakistani dignitary forgot that India had the second largest population of the Muslims and does believe that India will work against her own people? How can a country survive if it works against its own people? Because Pakistan is precisely working against its own people, she is faced with numerous hardships and obstacles in nation building process. Since Pakistan has raised the terrorist and jihadist legions and pushed them into the cauldron of Kashmir, it feels it has the responsibility of supporting them through thick and thin. After the release of Hafiz Saeed and after designating his LeT as a terrorist organization by the US, the jihadis have accelerated their activities in Kashmir. The ranks of these terrorist organizations active in Kashmir are dwindling because more and more militants are returning to the fold saying that they have wasted their youth in militancy. This also increases the frustration of the Pakistani jihadi legions. Therefore opening the entire front along the LoC and also the IB is indirectly tantamount to self inflicting torture because they know that India will retaliate and retaliate with more power to destroy. India has so often told Pakistan to shun violence but Pakistan is reciting the mantra of Kashmir calling it her jugular vein. Destruction of human lives and material on both sides is happening as a sequel to border shelling and firing. Losses are taking on both sides.
But we have a word for the State and the Union Government. Innocent civilians and our security men including army jawans are martyred in this senseless firing. It is tragic and should not happen. Nevertheless it is happening. Reports say that more than 40,000 people living in border area close to LoC and IB have been dislocated. Good deal of their livestock has perished as a result of firing. Their standing crops have been destroyed and their houses have been met with destruction and severe damages. The schools have been closed and student community is put to a disadvantage. All this is happening for no fault of theirs. As such it is the duty of the Government to come to their rescue. They have to be rehabilitated. Just putting them in bunkers and providing security of life for a day or two or little more is not the final solution of this problem. Obviously as long as meaningful talks between the two countries are not conducted and cease fire agreement is not enforced in letter and spirit the suffering of these people will not be mitigated. The Union and the State Government should join heads and devise a foolproof strategy of security for the border dwellers against this menace.