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  Challenge of Pakistan’s asymmetric warfare & lies

Challenge of Pakistan’s asymmetric warfare & lies

Published : Aug 12, 2015, 5:48 am IST
Updated : Aug 12, 2015, 5:48 am IST

The shrill anti-India rhetoric in Pak media and recent attacks are definite indications of the mood in Pakistan’s military/intelligence establishment, which has stepped up both its drive on the ground and of public indoctrination through media

Security personnel during an encounter with terrorists at the police station in Dinanagar town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur.  — AFP
 Security personnel during an encounter with terrorists at the police station in Dinanagar town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur. — AFP

The shrill anti-India rhetoric in Pak media and recent attacks are definite indications of the mood in Pakistan’s military/intelligence establishment, which has stepped up both its drive on the ground and of public indoctrination through media

A day after the July 27 Pakistani terrorists attack on a police station in Gurdaspur, a Pakistani TV news channel requested me to join its panel discussion on Skype. After repeatedly referring to “Bharat ki hukoomat aur media ka propaganda”, with earlier speakers, the anchor asked me how Indian authorities claimed that the attackers were Pakistani/came from Pakistan, even before the encounter was over. Referring to the evidence that emerged, I reminded the channel of earlier attacks across the International Boundary (IB) in South Jammu and Kashmir on the same pattern, timing and time-frame.

 

Coinciding with the September 25-28, 2013 India-US dialogue in Washington D.C. and sinisterly timed with the then PM Manmohan Singh’s sidelines meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, highly trained Pakistani terrorists launched multi-target attack at Hiranagar and Samba.

US President Barack Obama’s statement during the dialogue that there is a worldwide terror threat from Pakistan-based groups also turned out to be ominous because that time, after a long gap since 2002, Pakistani terrorists came across the IB with the aim of not merely repeating the 15 May 2002 attack on Indian Army’s family quarters complex at Kalu Chak but surpassing it by attacking the Army School at Samba, after attacking 16th Cavalry.

 

The timing of the attack — like the one in Kalu Chak — was in the morning when personnel return from the first parade for breakfast and change their uniforms for the second parade and children get ready for school. In the Kalu Chak attack, a total of 31 were killed — 3 Army personnel, 18 Army family members including 10 children and 10 civilians. Forty seven were wounded including 12 Army personnel, 20 Army family members and 15 civilians. In this attack, four personnel were killed as all ranks of 16th Cavalry — commanding officer downwards — and the brigade, swung into action and finally killed the three terrorists, who would had planned more surprise attacks.

 

In March, this year again there was a repeat of the same type of attack on Kathua followed by another on the same location in Samba as in the 2013 attack on 16th Cavalry.

Terrorists in Army fatigues first stormed into a police station in Kathua killing three security personnel and two civilians, and leaving 11 others including deputy SP wounded. Two terrorists were also killed in the gun battle following which the recoveries included two AK-47 rifles, one of them fitted with UBGL (under-barrel grenade launcher) with substantial ammunition, two daggers; 13 hand grenades; one Chinese pistol, one water floating bag, and clothes. the water floating bags meant that they crossed water obstacles to infiltrate and changed clothes wearing uniforms to avoid detection by the local people and the Border Security Force.

 

While the timing of the Gurdaspur attack coincides with the peace attempt at Ufa, Russia, the most likely reasons for targeting a police station in Punjab, neighbouring south J&K, are surprise, a softer target, as compared to the J&K stretch of the IB, which has been actively targeted by Pak rangers and psychological impact.

Whereas the Punjab stretch of the IB has for long been active owing to Pak rangers assisting drug smugglers, the possibility of Pak Army/ISI trying to re-ignite Indian Punjab cannot be ruled out.

The shrill anti-India rhetoric in Pakistani media and recent attacks are definite indications of the mood in Pakistan’s military/intelligence establishment, which has stepped up both its drive on the ground and of public indoctrination through media, particularly TV talk shows. ISI is in overdrive on Pakistani news channels as they are an ideal medium for deploying a battery of retired generals, including former heads/members of ISI and military spokespersons, air marshals and pliant scholars and journalists to deliver daily barrages of false accusations, fabrications/fantasies twisting of truth etc. on all issues and conflicts from 1947 till date. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any admirals, yet at least, despite links between Pak Navy personnel and terrorists exposed by Saleem Shahzad about Al Qaeda’s role with ISI and Lashkar e Taiyyaba in 26/11 and the May 2012 attack on Pakistan’s naval base PNS Mehran, after which he was brutally murdered.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) have become hot favourites of Pakistani media and its “commentators” for bashing almost on a daily basis.

Frequently aired footage is of Mr Modi’s talk during his visit to Bangladesh featuring his mention of 1971 and NSA Doval’s 10th Nani Palkhivala Memorial lecture at Sastra University, Kumbakonam, in February 2014. when he is reported to have stated “You can do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan.” Pakistan commentators’ propaganda now includes that the attacks on Indian Parliament and 26/11 were Indian machinations and that during 1971, RAW inducted 60,000-70,000 personnel in khaki uniforms to sever erstwhile East Pakistan. Their latest term for India’s actions/attitude is “shaitaniyat” (coined from shaitani, meaning mischief), most ironically, exactly what they are practising.

 

While dates are being mulled over for both countries’ NSAs to meet in Delhi and firing by Pakistan rangers across the IB is an almost daily affair, fresh attacks on Udhampur, Pulwama, Poonch, Kupwara and many others should leave no doubt about Pakistan military’s plans of extending its terrorist grid in India. The capture of a Pakistani boat by BSF near Harami Nala, in Kutch should not be a surprise as Gujarat being PM Modi’s state has been high on Pakistan terrorists’ target list. Capturing young Naved/Kasim/Usman or whatever his name is, after the Udhampur attack is a good achievement and although he has reportedly confessed a lot, it is not going to make any difference to Pakistan, which has already denied his existence.

 

Also, Pakistan will never admit/acknowledge any act perpetrated/supported by its military/ISI. Anyone who does will either be killed like Shahzad was, or will be made to retract his statement, like former DG Federal Investigative Agency Tariq Khosa did.

New Delhi must be very clear about the efficacy of the asymmetric warfare by Pakistan military, which uses a comparatively much cheaper modus of sending handfuls of young highly trained, armed and brainwashed terrorists to engage larger detachments of troops or constabulary, causing a slow rate of attrition.

One immediate effective measure to neutralise Pakistan supported terrorism in the Kashmir valley is to put all separatists/traitors and their “assistants” in jails out of J&K. The other step is to seriously consider a suitably modified implementation defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s suggestion which put Pakistani military mullahs and media into a great tizzy-“kaante se kaanta nikalna” (removing a thorn by a thorn). While India should relentlessly maintain all diplomatic efforts to expose Pakistan’s dirty tricks. India boycotting the Commonwealth state speakers’ summit unless it is held in any other country than Pakistan is a justified step.

 

However there seems no hope so far of any country doing anything more than verbal admonition. While US has made some token gestures in India’s favour, can it be expected to stop arms supply to Pakistan Negative. So, yet again it is reiterated that India must be prepared to go it alone and must develop the capacity to covertly strike in depth beyond its borders.