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Wed. February 01, 2023
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Pakistan's Monkey Business
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By Kashi N Pandit

Keeping in mind how Pakistani Rangers have been repeatedly violating the cease fire agreement of 2003 during this summer not only on the Line of Control (LoC) but also at several places along the International Border (IB), it is a clear indication that Pakistan has no intention of respecting the agreement. It leaves India free to wriggle out of it and take unilateral action in the context of security of her border and safety of Indian citizens living along the border. It is now of no use to remind Pakistan it is violating an agreement which is in contravention of international norms of relationship between two neighbours.


Five persons have been killed, 29 injured - some seriously - n the incessant firing and bombing by Pakistani rangers in the IB sector in Arnia. R.S Pora. 120 mm mortar shells recovered from the scene of occurrence show that Pakistan is on warpath. Three thousand civilians have had to be evacuated to safer places and farmers have been disabled from going to their fields. What more devastation can be expected for the civilians living on the border?  It is not chance firing; it is not retaliation for there has not been any initiation of hostilities from our side. For Pakistan there is a method in madness. A number of impelling factors make Pakistan behave in such a senseless manner.


Terrorist organizations making camaraderie with the Pakistan Army are calling the shots. A deeply distressing and disquieting relationship exists between the elected Prime Minister and the GHQ in which things have to come to a pass where the latter wants to get the PM ousted by whatever means possible short of a military coup. A coup is not an option at this time because Pakistan is already considered by the international community as the epicentre of terrorist groups Moreover, Pakistan’s economy is at its lowest ebb cannot sustain the society if there is commotion in the civil society on account of military taking over and civil society’s resistance leading the situation to a civil war, which almost is in the wings.


The elected government in Islamabad is suspected of revisiting Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. The Pakistan Army suspects that Nawaz Sharif is likely to make concessions to India on Kashmir, though there are absolutely no indications whatsoever nor is India harbouring any hope to that purpose. But what has soured relations between the civilian government and the Pakistani Army is former’s green light to the judiciary to frame a case against the former army chief and president who grabbed power through a coup in 1999. The charge against him is of treason against the country.  He is accused of having subverted the constitution of the country and using it to further his self interests. Pakistan’s army has taken it a challenge to its authority because it is the first instance in their history that a former army chief has been indicted and brought before the court of law.


Having written off the option of a military coup, the ISI devised a so-called democratic ploy to work towards the ouster of the elected Prime Minister. This time they galvanized two public figures into leading massive protests against the elected government and marching on the capital.  They encamped before the parliament house and have paralysed normal life in the capital city. The protesting leadership openly demanded the ouster of the elected government with charges of rigged elections held fifteen months ago. The elected government stood its ground and did not yield as it managed to muster the support of many factions inside parliament. Nevertheless, pressures on the government mounted when the army asked the Prime Minister to resolve the crisis without delay.


Accelerating its pressure on the Islamabad regime, the ISI insisted that the Prime Minister, in his address to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, rake up the issue of Kashmir to harass India. The purpose of the ISI was actually to weaken and disable the effort of the Nawaz Sharif to continue his dialogue with India. The written text was presented to the Prime Minster who read it in the session of the General Assembly. His body language showed that his heart was not in the speech and that he was just reading it out for somebody else, i.e. the ISI hawks, who were listening with rapt attention whether a word or a phrase was changed. The speech was not meant for the members of the UN General Assembly; taking into account the thin audience present. Finding that his address had created a negative impression on the listeners, Nawaz Sharif left New York that night, sending a message to the ISI and the Army to reflect on their foolhardy Kashmir policy.


Accelerating infiltration bids across the LoC and resorting indiscriminate and unprovoked firing not only along LoC as in Poonch’s Mendhar or Sawjian sectors but also along IB as in RS Pora, is a clear indication of the frustration of Pakistan army to do something that would call for massive retaliation from Indian side; in which case would give the Army-ISI pretext for saying that India is opening a frontal attack on Pakistan. They want it desperately because, according to their thinking, it is the only instrument to unite the otherwise dissenting and fragmented Pakistani society. The Indo-US security agreement purporting to work toward dismantling the terrorist structure in Pakistan has come as rude shock to Pakistan army and ISI. They are desperate to pass the buck to India. The upcoming assembly elections in J&K will just rub salt into the wounds of Pakistan. The ISI wants to disrupt elections by infiltrating a large number of jihadis across the LoC, something that Indian security forces deny.


We need to understand their game plan and refuse to get provoked by their perfidy along the border. We are sorry for the Indian civilians who have become Pakistan’s victims but in the larger interests of the country, India should do nothing that will facilitate Pakistan’s attempts to manoeuvre unity among fragmented societal sections. The best course would be to maintain calm and, in the case of Pakistan violence, retaliate with the axiom of tooth for tooth and eye for eye.  Pakistan’s monkey business has to be made counter productive.


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