Ever since the installation of the Modi government in India, relations between Pakistan and India- notwithstanding positive overture by the PML-N government to restart the suspended dialogue to resolve all the outstanding issues, including Kashmir - are continuously in a nosedive due to an extremely hostile posture adopted by India. The Modi government is hell bent on linking the freedom struggle in Kashmir to terrorism and portray Pakistan as its sponsor. The new Indian Army Chief has also threatened to carry out another surgical strike against Pakistan. In the backdrop of the bellicose Indian stance, the Senate justifiably adopted a unanimous resolution on 16 January condemning the Indian hostility and its attempt to equate the freedom struggle in Kashmir with terrorism. It was rightly observed that India, by adopting this posture towards Pakistan, actually wanted to divert the attention of the world community from the atrocities that its security forces were committing in Kashmir.
It is an irrefutable reality that India continues to deal with the people of Kashmir with a heavy hand to quell the uprising that erupted in all the ten districts of Jummu and Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani on 8 July. Its security forces have killed more than 150 people and injured and maimed nearly 13,000 thousands of them using pellet guns, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and assault rifles. Pakistan being a party to the Kashmir dispute could not remain a silent onlooker. It mounted a diplomatic offensive to sensitise the world community about the blatant human rights violations committed by the Indian security forces and their obligation toward the people of Kashmir.
India, reacting to the Pakistani initiative evolved a counter strategy to deflect attention of the global fraternity from the reign of terror let loose by the Indian security forces in the valley and to portray the freedom movement as terrorism enjoying support from across the border. Accordingly, it stage-managed the Uri incident like the Pathankot episode and has ceaselessly been trying to rub in the notion of Pakistan being responsible for the acts of terrorism in Kashmir and India. It has used all available forums and opportunities to make rattling noises regarding alleged Pakistani support to acts of terrorism on its soil including at the BRICS summit.
Modi also built up war hysteria in India and vowed to punish the perpetrators and supporters of the Uri attack. However in view of the likely matching retaliatory response by Pakistan and the risk of a full-fledged war between the two countries, he restricted himself only to a farcical surgical strike to assuage the feelings of the Indian masses.
Another ploy adopted by India to distract the attention of the world from the brutalities being committed by the Indian security forces against people of Kashmir was to heat up the LOC in complete disregard to the 2013 agreement between the two countries. In fact it has become an uncanny habit of the Indian governments to ramp up tensions along the LOC whenever relations between the two countries take a dip. Modi’s hatred against Pakistan is not a secret. One of the major factors in his electoral victory was his anti-Pakistan stance.
Pakistan is a nuclear state with the capability of hitting any target within India. Modi cannot dare foist a war on Pakistan in the presence of the nuclear deterrent, unless he is out of his wits. Therefore keeping the LOC hot probably is a well considered option for him to portray himself as a tough guy both to the Indian public as well as Pakistan and also to use it as a smoke screen to hoodwink the international community about the situation in Jummu and Kashmir. He probably seems unaware of the fact that the continuation of unabated Indian hostility towards Pakistan through firing along LOC could also lead to a strategic miscalculation with disastrous consequences.
So far, Pakistan has exercised utmost restraint with a view to deescalate the tensions between the two countries, though the Pakistani forces have been giving a proportionate response to the Indian indiscretions. The Prime Minister and the military leadership has repeatedly reiterated that Pakistan could not be bullied by tactics like firing along the LOC as our armed forces were fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of the country and coping with security threat of any nature. The Defence Minister Khawaja Asif referring to the statement of the Indian Army chief regarding a second surgical strike rightly observed that any such attempt on part of India would make them forget throwing fake claims.
It is pertinent to point out that Pakistan exploded the myth of the Indian surgical strike by taking the media and representatives of UNMOGIP to the claimed surgical strike and they unequivocally declared that they did not see any sign of the surgical strike having taken place. Such fake enactments might help Modi to assuage the sentiments of his constituency but cannot cow-down a nuclear power like Pakistan.
There is no disputing the fact that continued hostility between India and Pakistan was not only inimical to the interests of both the countries but it also threatened peace and security in the region. Pakistan has been making earnest efforts to restart the suspended dialogue between the two countries to resolve mutual disputes including Kashmir without matching reciprocity. As they say it takes two to tango. Till such time Modi government realises its folly to tread the war path, Pakistan must spare no effort to neutralise the propaganda by India.
Pakistan has done well by launching a diplomatic offensive to unveil the Indian designs and atrocities in Kashmir and also to unmask the real Indian face before the world community as a sponsor of terrorism in Pakistan. Dossiers on Indian involvement in acts of terrorism and atrocities in Kashmir by the Indian forces have already been handed over to the UN and US. Our permanent ambassador to the UN in her meeting with the new UN General Secretary is reported to have again shared the dossier with him, who during the meeting with her offered to help in resolving the Kashmir issue. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also scheduled to meet the UN Secretary General on the sidelines of the World Econmic Forum in Davos wherein he is expected to raise the issue of Kashmir and Indian involvement in acts of terrorism in Pakistan.
Resolving the Kashmir issue is the obligation of the UN and the world community. It is not a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India, it is about an inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir which cannot be denied through the barrel of the gun. Unfortunately the powers that be, blinded by their strategic and commercial interests in India, are not paying any attention to what India is doing in Kashmir and Pakistan. But that indifference is a very dangerous disposition. Problems and dispute do not go away until they are resolved. UN, US and India need to understand that, more so India. Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of the partition and there is no escape from this reality.
Modi cannot dare foist a war on Pakistan in the presence of the nuclear deterrent, unless he is out of his wits.