The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

Pak­istan army is re­sort­ing to, Com­man­der of t he Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt, who was Direc­tor-Gen­eral of Mili­tary Op­er­a­tions (DGMO) ear­lier, said, “Pak­istan army is known for us­ing PoK vil­lages sit­u­ated in the vicin­ity of LoC to hide their mor­tar po­si­tions and head­quar­ters.”

This was re­it­er­ated by Lt Gen (Rtd) V.G. Khan­dare, for­mer Direc­tor-Gen­eral of De­fence In­tel­li­gence Agency, who said, “When­ever un­der pres­sure from In­dian Army on the LoC, Pak­istan army em­ploys civil­ians to act as shields while si­mul­ta­ne­ously tar­get­ing and caus­ing ca­su­al­ties to In­dian civil­ians by putting pres­sure on the In­dian side and prevent­ing us from ac­cu­rate and ef­fec­tive fir­ing.”

While de­scrib­ing a sim­i­lar story, the for­mer In­dian Army Chief, Gen Bikram Singh termed this un­scrupu­lous prac­tice of em­ploy­ing in­no­cent lo­cals as hu­man shields as a peren­nial modus operandi of the Pak­istan army. He ex­plained how Pak­istan army de­lib­er­ately keeps its mor­tar and guns po­si­tions vir­tu­ally hug­ging the vil­lages in PoK. “They have re­peat­edly ex­ploited and un­der­mined the hu- man rights of the in­no­cent lo­cals and sol­diers from PoK. Dur­ing the Kargil con­flict also they had made the North­ern Light In­fantry sol­diers into can­non fod­der and dis­owned them.” As a Colonel, when Gen Singh was com­mand­ing a bat­tal­ion at Tangdhar on the LoC in the early 1990s, the Pak­istan army, which knew about the move­ment tim­ings of the UN ve­hi­cles on the Naush­eri-Jura road in the PoK, “would open fire on our posts a cou­ple of min­utes be­fore their ar­rival to pro­voke re­tal­i­a­tion from us. Our re­tal­ia­tory fire would then be pro­jected to the UN per­son­nel as un­pro­voked and even as a bla­tant dis­re­gard for their safety.” By the time the UN teams would reach the spot, they would see only the In­di­ans fir­ing and not the Pak­ista­nis. This would cre­ate an im­pres­sion in the UN of­fi­cials’ minds that the In­dian Army was tar­get­ing civil­ians in PoK.

In the last few months, in dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tional fo­rums, Pak­istan has been ac­cus­ing In­dia of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Kash­mir, when the truth, as this pho­to­graph re­veals, it is for the Pak­istani army that Kash­miri lives come cheap in their ploy to de­fame In­dia.

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