The Indo-Pak stand-off

By Shan Bin Zafar Abbasi

It is unfortunate that Indians actually believe that Jaish was behind the deadly Pulwana attack where 40 CPRF soldiers were killed as Jaish claimed the responsibility in a video. Where was that video made? In Pakistan or in the Kashmir valley or elsewhere? Even if we assume for a second that Jaish is based in Pakistan for now, the question is how did Jaish transfer a great amount of explosive from LoC in 6 to 10 ft snow on mountains and in extreme winter? Also considering that there is a fence all over LoC and a strict watch over by Indian Army at all times, during all seasons. Most importantly the attacker was a local Kashmiri, not a Pakistani, so what made him go that far, that he took his life and lives of others as well?

Taking Pulwama attack as an excuse the IAF strikes on Jabba village took place, which is a village some 20 KM before Balakot. The Indian jets crossed through Tanghdar sector as this is the nearest territory of Indian controlled Kashmir from where Muzaffarabad and Balakot are just a matter of seconds away if you are sitting in a jet of supersonic speed. The missiles hit a small mountain on a tree line and a barren land as shown in pictures damaging one mud made house that was near the site, injuring one old villager as per the locals. I am not quoting Pakistan’s media or govt. officials.

Later on the whole Indian social media and then mainstream media were filled with the news that India had struck Jaish camp killing 300 fighters with 1000 KG bomb. Though there was no confirmation by Indian govt. or forces officials. Pakistan released the pictures of the site in morning and the interviews of local villagers who were eye witnesses got viral on social media and they debunked Indian media claims. In my opinion, the jets did not enter for any target and if they had then the target was something beyond, not the Jabba village. Pakistanis claimed that it was a drop of payload and nothing else as we intercepted them. They dropped the payload while turning back as it decreases the weight and increases the speed of the jet.

Pakistan’s public did not take this action from IAF as attack on Jaish or some militant camp but on themselves as they thought their sovereignty had been challenged by dropping the bombs inside their country. So there was a huge pressure on Pakistan army and Pakistan Air Force to retaliate. Public was questioning how was IAF able to enter and come that far; they were unaware that the air distance from Tanghdaar sector to the site from where they turned was too short and was covered in a matter of seconds if you were in a jet.

Pakistanis knew that Indians would take this course of action and they were waiting for India to make this mistake in the name of surgical strike, so they could retaliate hard. The truth is that no one died except for the few trees, one house damaged, one local injured and a crow killed. The next morning Pakistani jets did what IAF had done and demonstrated their supremacy by hitting 6 missiles very near to Indian military installations in Rajouri sector, Kashmir. No causality reported quoting the Indian officials. While PAF knew that IAF will chase them and will also enter Pakistani airspace in chase to hit the jets or some Pakistani military targets in response so PAF had already prepared an air trap as their other squads were ready to tackle the chasing IAF jets. One of the Indian upgraded Mig Bisons was shot by the PAF pilot Hassan Siddiqui who was flying JF17 Thunder. One can also clearly see him coming out of it in his video viral on social media. The Indians, on the other hand, claim F16 shot their Mig. Pakistanis captured an IAF pilot Abhinandan who ejected in Pakistani side of Kashmir not very close to LOC.

While this was going on, an Indian MI17 helicopter crashed in the valley from nowhere killing 6 of their troops. So the Pakistani media started showing the footage of its crash as well confusing it with one of the jets that Pakistan had downed.

The grey area so far in this air fight is that DG ISPR claimed that we have shot 2 IAF jets that entered our airspace; one fell in Pakistan which was a Mig and the other in Indian territory which is believed to be Su30 which was heading back and was chased and shot by JF17. The pictures and video of Mig’s parts were shown but no reports or anything on the second jet that fell in Indian side except for one video where a jet can be seen being chased by the other.

The Indians contrary to this started claiming that they had shot our F16 which fell on our side of the LoC. Question is that where is the wreckage of the plane? The Indians based their story on DG ISPR’s statement in which he said that Pakistan has two pilots, one is in custody and the other one is in CMH as he is injured.

Now coming towards Abhinandan, He was first traced by local Kashmir villagers who started beating him as the pilot was first acted violently before being caught. Later on Pak army came and he was literally saved by the army from the local Kashmiris. I think the anger of those local Kashmiris was intensified because of the cross border firing they face all the time from Indian side. Pak Army took the IAF pilot to the nearby unit and first informed the HQ and then gave him medical aid. Later on, a video went viral where he was having a cup of tea while the Pakistani major was interrogating him. He followed the SOP and the code of conduct well by not answering the specifics which showed he was a professional soldier/pilot and maybe that’s why he praised the professionalism and the good treatment by Pakistani Army too.

People on both sides of the border witnessed that many Pakistanis demanded good treatment of Indian pilot and also his safe return, while on the other hand Indian media was reporting everything negative about Pakistan. I had hoped that Indian media would show those positive statements and voices but they won’t as this would destroy their anti-Pak narrative which they had been working on so hard. I am not saying that Pakistani media was selling flowers during these days but as compared to Indian media, Pak media’s reporting had a more defensive approach.

Imran Khan’s decision of releasing the pilot is I think more of a diplomatic move to show to the world and also Indians that the government in Pakistan is different now and has faith in peace more than aggression. Also look at the timing of the announcement; it was just before the joint press conferences of Indian tri services. So it was a fine move and at the same time, a very bold decision by Imran Khan. Even if one compares all the speeches of Imran Khan and DG ISPR with Modi and his officials in all these days of tension, one can clearly see that Pakistan spoke the words ‘peace’ and ‘defense’ more while the Indian side spoke the words ‘strike’ and ‘revenge’ more.

Just before releasing the pilot when he was brought to Wagha border, the Indian media was continuously reporting against Pakistan even at the time of his release. Pakistanis didn’t like that and the officials showed the reporting and tone of Indian media to the pilot as well and said: “Look! How we are dealing with you and even letting you free in a while and this is how your media is reporting”. Abhinandan wasn’t happy with his media reporting negatively at a peaceful move and that’s why he said so in the video. No one could have made him say all those things on gun point.

The LoC was hot in many sectors the day when Indians violated Pakistani airspace and dropped the payload and even on the day when Pakistan was releasing the pilot. Later on it became hotter as 3 local Kashmiris including one mother, sister and brother died along with two Pakistani soldiers in Nekyal sector. So I would say the real sufferers are Kashmiri in this Indo-Pak standoff.

I want to tell Indians as a Pakistani that the best way to deal with attacks like Pulwana is to tighten up the security in the valley and LoC. Also improve the Intel based operations in the valley where the main problem lies, so such incidents and people can be stopped. You need to improve the security at your home rather than attacking the other country or the people there because they will retaliate considering it an attack on their soil and sovereignty. Your aggressive behaviour will create more problems. If there are a credible proofs than the best way is to share it with the concerned party and the world.

For instance, terrorism in Pakistan was mostly originating from Afghanistan, sponsored by RAW, NDS and MOSAD. Does that mean Pakistan should have started violating Afghanistan’s airspace and started hitting targets? The answer is: No. We protected our borders with Afghanistan and started cleaning our home, and we shared the info with Afghan and NATO forces to deal with the people who were sending terrorism from their soil in our country. The best example is APS Peshawar attack where we gave the list of the Afghan terrorists involved to the Afghan authorities with proofs.

Secondly our experts here were already warning 2 to 3 years back that India will do aggression against Pakistan in coming years before their elections as it is vital for Indian politicians to build and refresh the anti-Pakistan atmosphere in the country to get votes. If you are an Indian supporting the ruling party you will never be able to see and realize facts until you start seeing things from all angles except only one. Pakistan itself was a big victim of terrorism in all these year where 70,000 people died including civilians and soldiers with loss of economy and much more during American WoT. Pakistanis know the pain of terrorism better than you. I want peace to prevail as war is not an option. Both Pakistan and India are nuclear armed states and war means suicide.

So let’s breathe and let others breathe as well.


Categories: Geopolitics, International Affairs, Kashmir, Opinion, Pakistan Armed Forces

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