By Sajjad Shaukat
At this critical juncture, when all the political and religious parties, including all the segments of society of Pakistan are united to give a matching response to India war hysteria, showing solidarity with country’s armed forces in case of any prospective aggression by India, it is surprising that an article written by Cyril Almeida, published in the daily Dawn, on October 6, 2016 under the caption “Exclusive: Act against militants or face international isolation, civilian tell military” shows writer’s unrealistic approach.
Following imaginary analysis, and distorting facts, Cyril Almeida wrote, “The civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state.”
He wrote, “As a result of the most recent meeting, an undisclosed one on the day of the All Parties’ Conference on Monday, at least two sets of actions have been agreed. First, ISI DG Gen Rizwan Akhtar, accompanied by National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, is to travel to each of the four provinces with a message for provincial apex committees and ISI sector commanders. The message: military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action. Gen Akhtar’s inter-provincial tour has begun with a visit to Lahore. Second, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed that fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi antiterrorism court.”
However, in such crucial times, when Pakistan is embroiled in war mongering with India, a false story, implicating rift between military and civilian leadership, can have devastating effects on the minds and hearts of patriotic ‘Pakistanis’.
International, especially Indian media has given prominent space to the news story and molded it to further enhance their own anti-Pakistan agenda in the comity of nations. In such times of crisis, when all Pakistani should get united, Cyril Almeida’s article is fabricated and such concocted story, published in the leading newspaper will only confuse the nation.
While, spokesman of Pakistan’s prime minister and Ministry of Information and Chief Minister Punjab’s spokesman have all denied and termed the information as factually incorrect. Even Dawn itself has published the rebuttal to the story on the page 5 (Intelligence agencies working in line with state policy, says PM office). But the damage is done.
Cyril Almeida who ignored the facts and ground realities in his article should know that the situation developed after the Uri base assault has clearly proved that with the help of Indian intelligence agencies, particularly RAW, India has itself arranged the Uri base attack not only to defame Pakistan, but also to achieve a number of sinister aims.
After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who target the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir and the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba controlled by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in it. Under the mask of the Uri base assault, India started mobilization of troops near the LoC to wage a limited war with Pakistan, while considering surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir.
In this regard, a few days before the attack at the Uri base, Indian Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhaag had stated that India has to be prepared for “swift, short nature of future wars” because of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan and its “new methods” used to keep Jammu and Kashmir on the boil. His statement also endorsed the fact that New Delhi itself orchestrated the Uri base drama of to create war phobia.
It is brought to the notice of Cyril Almeida that the myth of Indian surgical strikes in the Azad Kashmir has been exposed. Hence differences exist between the civil and military leadership—as to how cover the falsehood. In this regard, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and country’s Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh have decided to prepare a ‘fake video’ of surgical strikes so as to pacify the Indian public and media.
In this context, Indian Express wrote on October 5, this year, “Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday attacked BJP even as he continued to face flak from several quarters for suggesting army’s surgical strikes could be “fake” Unfazed by the heat, even from within his party, Nirupam fired a fresh salvo accusing BJP of trying to extract political mileage out of the national security issue with eyes set on ensuing elections in the state to be held next year.”
In his misperceptions, the writer has also forgotten that by creating war hysteria against Pakistan, New Delhi wants to divert the attention from the new phase of uprising in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, as since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian held in wake of continued sieges and prolonged curfew, Indian forces have martyred more than 100 innocent persons who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. In wake of new phase of uprising in the Indian controlled Kashmir, pressure on the Indian government led by BJP has been mounting both domestically and internationally.
Cyril Almeida has also ignored the fact that leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi have given a free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the violations at the Line of Control (LoC), as Indian forces continue shelling inside Pakistan’s side of Kashmir. By promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against Pakistan. BJP leaders are hyping up Hindu sentiments against Pakistan.
The writer should know that besides, other negative steps of the BJP government like suspension of the talks with Islamabad, raising baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue, pledge of revoking the special status, given to Kashmir under Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to annex the area—are part of the same scheme to create a war-like situation between the two countries.
The writer’s attention is invited towards the fact that as regards the militants’ attack at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot on January 2, 2016, it was a false flag operation, arranged by Indian security agencies to defame Pakistan. Notably, after the terror attack at the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot, Indian media and top civil and military officials started claiming that the attackers had arrived from Pakistani Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and had links with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, ISI. But, despite Islamabad’s cooperation with India like formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consisting of professionals to investigate the Pathankot attack, crackdown against the militant group Jaish-i-Mohammad—lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) in relation to the incident, New Delhi failed in providing any proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pathankot episode. Indian authorities did not cooperate with Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team which visited India to probe into Pathankot attack.
India’ planned drama of the Pathankot incident could also be judged from the fact that earlier, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said in confusion that New Delhi would not allow access to the JIT into the base, though it was allowed on very limited scale to fulfill the formality. It can undermine the seriousness of bilateral commitments to find the truth.
Nevertheless, the story polished in the leading newspaper is considered mal-intended. It is ill-founded and ill-timed speculation to mislead the educated mass of the country, leading to mistrust amongst pillars of state. Again, it is mentionable that the story has been concocted and published in a respected newspaper at a time, when all national resources are required to strengthen national unity.
At his crucial hour, when New Delhi is deliberately creating war-like situation with Islamabad, mainstream print media has the focal responsibility to shape national response in unison with national policies. Free press must not be misunderstood or misused at the cost of responsible journalism and national interest. The paper has unfortunately failed on both accounts. It’s a shame. Has Quaid’s ‘paper’ become somebody’s ‘pawn’?