The big ques­tion

SP's MAI - - MILITARY -

The Di­rec­tors Gen­eral of Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tions (DGMOs) of In­dia and Pak­istan met at Wa­gah bor­der on De­cem­ber 24, 2013. This was 14 years af­ter such a meet­ing was held be­tween the DGMOs of both coun­tries, the ear­lier meet­ing hav­ing been held in 1999 af­ter the Kargil con­flict. There are some strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween these two meet­ings. Dur­ing the 1999 meet­ing, Pak­istan con­tin­ued to por­tray that the mas­sive in­tru­sions in Kargil area were done by non-state ac­tors and so-called free­dom fighters de­spite clear ev­i­dence that Pak­istan had em­ployed a num­ber of North­ern Light In­fantry bat­tal­ions sup­ported by her Spe­cial Ser­vice Group per­son­nel.

De­spite the heinous tor­ture and killing of Cap­tain Sau­rabh Kalia and his pa­trol as also Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Pak­istan was feign­ing in­no­cence. When the mu­ti­lated bod­ies of Cap­tain Sau­rabh Kalia and his pa­trol were handed back by Pak­istan, the post-mortem re­vealed that the Pak­istan Army had in­dulged in the most heinous acts of burn­ing them with cig­a­rettes, pierc­ing eardrums with hot rods, punc­tur­ing eyes be­fore re­mov­ing them, break­ing most of the teeth and bones, chop­ping off var­i­ous limbs and pri­vate or­gans of these soldiers be­sides in­flict­ing all sorts of phys­i­cal and men­tal tortures be­fore shoot­ing them dead, as ev­i­denced by the bul­let wound to the tem­ple.

Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, whose MiG was shot down over the In­dian soil on May 27, 1999, was used for tar­get prac­tice by Pak­istani soldiers af­ter he bailed out and opened his para­chute across the LoC. Pres­i­dent Pervez Mushar­raf would have per­haps dec­o­rated his per­son­nel (un­fit to be called soldiers) for these bar­baric acts. All this, de­spite the In­dian Army giv­ing proper buri­als with full re­li­gious rights to dead Pak­istani soldiers, whose bod­ies were re­fused by Mushar­raf be­cause he wanted to con­tinue the façade these were free­dom fighters and not soldiers of Pak­istan. Dur­ing the re­cent meet­ing of the DGMOs, the In­dian side re­port­edly took a force­ful stand against the killing and be­head­ing of our soldiers and re­peated bor­der vi­o­la­tions that had soured re­la­tions. Both DGMOs are said to have dis­played com­mit­ment to main­tain the sanc­tity and cease­fire on the LoC and agreed to re-en­er­gise the ex­ist­ing mech­a­nisms; mak­ing the hot­line be­tween the two Di­rec­tors Gen­eral more ef­fec­tive and re­sult ori­ented, in­form­ing each other if any in­no­cent civil­ian in­ad­ver­tently crosses the LoC en­sur­ing his/her early re­turn, etc.

The bit about mak­ing the hot­line be­tween them “more ef­fec­tive” was some­what in­trigu­ing be­cause the pe­ri­od­ic­ity of the two DGMOs to talk is fixed and more im­por­tantly, the pro­vi­sion of additional con­tact over and above the fixed pe­ri­od­ic­ity on any oc­cur­rence(s) war­rant­ing ac­ti­va­tion of this hot­line too ex­ists – with com­plete con­ver­sa­tion recorded on both ends. It is not known what the Pak­istani re­sponse was to the In­dian protests about the killing and be­head­ing of our soldiers and re­peated bor­der vi­o­la­tions. But it can be as­sumed that the usual game of deny­ing all knowl­edge about the in­ci­dent and pass­ing the blame to non-state ac­tors or so-called free­dom fighters would have been re­sorted to.

What is well known is that Hafiz Saeed had openly an­nounced a re­ward of ` 5,00,000 to the per­son bring­ing the head of an In­dian sol­dier. It is also well known that in Fe­bru­ary 2000, Ilyas Kash­miri backed by Pak­istani Army un­der­took a cross-bor­der raid, car­ry­ing back the head of an In­dian sol­dier which was later pa­raded be­fore se­nior of­fi­cials of Pak­istan Army – much to the glee of Mushar­raf who re­warded Ilyas Kash­miri with ` 1,00,000 – all re­ported in Pak­istani me­dia. It is a dif­fer­ent is­sue that Mushar­raf de­nied this when ques­tioned by In­dian me­dia but the tw­erps pen­chant of ly­ing is well known, in­clud­ing his fa­mous squeak as Pres­i­dent of Pak­istan that “there is not a sin­gle ter­ror­ist on Pak­istani soil.”

So what is dif­fer­ent from the last DGMOs meet­ing in 1999 and the one held in 2013? In the lat­ter case, Pak­istan had al­ready vi­o­lated the year 2003 cease­fire hun­dreds of times, mostly to as­sist in­fil­tra­tion and cross-bor­der raids. Dur­ing the cal­en­dar year 2013 alone, Pak­istan had vi­o­lated the cease­fire more than 250 times. De­spite the as­sur­ances of Aamer Riaz, Pak­istani DGMO dur­ing the above meet­ing, Pak­istan continues to vi­o­late the cease­fire. Two such vi­o­la­tions took place on Jan­uary 26 and 29 this year in Uri and Poonch sec­tors of Jammu and Kash­mir us­ing small arms and RPG rock­ets. So how can one be­lieve in the sin­cer­ity of Pak­istani Army while they as­sist some 40 anti-In­dia ter­ror­ist camps in Pak­istan oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, in­te­grate Hafiz Saeed and his LeT in for­mu­lat­ing the pol­icy for In­dia, per­mit open ral­lies call­ing for balka­nis­ing In­dia, sup­port collection of funds and re­cruit­ment for ji­had against In­dia and have not even shut down the ill-famed Karachi project? The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

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