An In­dian Drama

Enterprise - - Letters -

Ev­ery new day brings another fresh at­tempt by In­dia to ramp up its cam­paign against Pak­istan and fool the world and its own peo­ple. Af­ter the Uri at­tacks, In­dia fired ver­bal vol­leys in hold­ing us re­spon­si­ble with­out a shred of ev­i­dence. It then pulled out of next month’s Saarc sum­mit and is­sued threats to dis­re­gard its treaty obli­ga­tions by with­draw­ing from the In­dus Wa­ters Treaty. For six hours early on Thurs­day morn­ing it launched mil­i­tary strikes across the Line of Con­trol and the In­dian me­dia, with typ­i­cal hawk­ish rel­ish, echoed sources from its govern­ment, declar­ing them ‘sur­gi­cal strikes’ at ter­ror­ist teams. The In­dian me­dia, even by its own very low stan­dards, has acted shame­lessly by throw­ing all the rules of jour­nal­ism out of the win­dow. The ISPR has con­tra­dicted the In­dian claim and said the fir­ing was in­dis­crim­i­nate and un­pro­voked and that Pak­istan re­sponded by fir­ing back. There is am­ple rea­son to doubt the of­fi­cial In­dian ver­sion. It is far too con­ve­nient for In­dia to sud­denly dis­cover the ex­act lo­ca­tions of sup­posed ter­ror­ists at a time when it is itch­ing for a fight and to pro­voke Pak­istan into one. In fact, a more ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment would be that the claim of sur­gi­cal strikes in­side Pak­istan is non­sense – un­less the In­dian me­dia wants to claim that the sur­gi­cal strikes in­tended to tar­get Pak­istani army check posts. The Pak­istan Army and govern­ment have said what oc­curred Wed­nes­day night (Septem­ber 29, 2016) was cross-bor­der fir­ing. There is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve this se­quence of events, with the ISPR back­ing it up with a de­tailed ac­count.

Modi has drawn him­self into a cor­ner with his tough talk. He has been so bel­liger­ent through­out his ten­ure as prime min­is­ter and so crit­i­cal of his pre­de­ces­sor Man­mo­han Singh’s rel­a­tive re­straint that the In­dian pub­lic is ex­pect­ing an ag­gres­sive re­sponse to an act Modi has ex­plic­itly blamed on Pak­istan. Modi’s his­tory and rhetoric sug­gest there is noth­ing he would like more than an all-out war but the nu­clear de­ter­rent has worked so far in rul­ing that out. To ap­pease those he has so riled up, Modi is go­ing as far as he can and this un­jus­ti­fi­able fir­ing seems part of that strat­egy. There is a real dan­ger that Modi’s strat­egy will spi­ral out of con­trol. De­fence Min­is­ter Khawaja Asif said nine Pak­istani sol­diers were in­jured and ISPR con­firmed the death of two sol­diers. As Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif said in re­sponse to In­dia’s vi­o­la­tion of the cease­fire line, Pak­istan’s re­straint should not be mis­taken for weak­ness. Should In­dia con­tinue its ag­gres­sion, events could spark a ma­jor re­gional con­fla­gra­tion, some­thing even some­one as en­am­oured of war as Modi should want to avoid. For­eign Of­fice spokesman Nafees Zakaria was cor­rect in say­ing Modi is try­ing to fool both the In­dian peo­ple and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity into think­ing Pak­istan is the prob­lem rather than In­dia’s con­tin­ued oc­cu­pa­tion and bru­tal crack­down in Kash­mir. The sit­u­a­tion is grow­ing in­creas­ingly un­pleas­ant. The dan­gers too grow by the hour. It is time for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to take very se­ri­ous no­tice of all that is go­ing on, and for Pak­istan to per­suade it to do so.

Shazia Parveen,


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