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  India   India, Pakistan media at war over strike

India, Pakistan media at war over strike

Published : Sep 30, 2016, 3:54 am IST
Updated : Sep 30, 2016, 3:54 am IST

Pakistan and India had a skirmish on Thursday morning along the Line of Control (LoC), but the media war may not ended anytime soon.

Pakistan and India had a skirmish on Thursday morning along the Line of Control (LoC), but the media war may not ended anytime soon.

At the onset there was a clash on “was it a surgical strike” or firing across the LoC. Media reports on either side of the border were contrary. Pakistani media took it as violation of the LoC by India resulting in crossfire while the Indian counterparts believed it was a surgical strike aimed at specific targets and the results were achieved.

 

The latest episode in already simmering Pakistan-India relations is a so-called “surgical strike” — an Indian claim made soon after two Pakistani soldiers were killed at the LoC in Pakistan Administrated Kashmir, Pakistan’s Dawn News reported.

With the Pakistani military rejecting that the episode was a result of a “surgical strike”, the media in both countries is now hotly debating the terminology.

Early morning Pakistan confirmed death of two soldiers and the last report on Pakistan’s Geo News channel claimed a few Indian soldiers were among the dead.

Pakistan’s defence minister Khawja Mohammed Asif appeared on the television channels confirming the death of the two soldiers, but added, “I don’t know about the causalities on the other side”, giving a hint to the media to there had been deaths on the India side too.

 

And within hours, the channels — like Geo News, ARY News, Dawn News, Dunya News etc — started airing reports about the possible deaths on the India side.

Most of the reports on both sides of the border quoted unnamed sources over the claims by the two nuclear armed neighbours.

Media outlets around the world, in fact, parrot the official line of their respective governments, especially on national security issues. The American and British did this when both countries were being drummed up into a frenzy before the Iraq war. And the Pakistani media is no different.

Indian media was no different with a series of articles on events from the LoC. Since the ongoing wave of civil unrest in Kashmir began weeks ago, the media war is far more fiery than the actual exchanges.

 

The media seemed compelled to carry such reports. Already, the mainstream media’s parroting of the governments’ stance has invited criticism.

Chief army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asif Saleem Bajwa, director general of the Pakistani military’s media wing told Dawn.com that the notion of the deaths being a result of a surgical strike is a false propagation by India.

“How is it possible that the target of a ‘surgical strike’ has no idea it took place ” he said. “This was simply an episode of cross LoC fire that they (India) have been doing. Small arms and mortars were used in the fire, similar to what has been used before... we gave a befitting response.”

 

He added that India has been chanting the “surgical strike” mantra just for the consumption of her citizens.

Air Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry (Retd) said: “A surgical strike is one that comes as a surprise and is conducted with surgical efficiency.”

It happens when an entity does the job and comes out. It is not messy. There is no collateral damage.” “On another level, sometimes what happens is that there is knowledge of the strike but an inability to respond.” Mr Chaudhry said, “What India has done today is an LoC violation. Not a surgical strike.” He also dismissed India’s claim that it struck at “terrorist teams had positioned themselves on launchpads along the LoC”. “In a circumstance when there is so much of tension on the border between India and Pakistan, only a fool would believe that a terrorist would actually infiltrate. Both armies are on high alert, so this is absurd.” Security analyst Hasan Askari explained that the term ‘surgical strike’ is usually used to describe military action involving air strikes. “This was a ground offensive, not a surgical strike. The Indian military initiated cross-fire from their territory,” said Mr Askari. “It is not possible that they entered Pakistani territory because it is all fenced. Entering Pakistani territory would require that they break that fencing. It is likely that they fired from the LoC.”

 

Location: Pakistan, Islamabad