The big question
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.