|By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army
A press release on May 1 by Army’s HQ Northern Command read, “Pak Army carried out unprovoked rocket and mortar firing on two forward posts on the line of control in Krishna Ghati Sector. Simultaneously, a BAT action was launched on a patrol operating in between the two posts. In an unsoldierly act by the Pak Army the bodies of two of our soldiers in the patrol were mutilated. Such despicable act of Pakistan Army will be appropriately responded”. The incident referred to occurred on April 30, a senior Army officer stating, “It was a pre-planned operation by Pakistan army. They had pushed in the Border Action Team over 250 metres deep inside Indian territory and set up the ambush over a long period to carry out the attack.” Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) set up the ambush and waited for a long time for the Indian patrol while Pakistani troops attacked two forward posts with rockets and mortar bombs in the Krishna Ghati Sector of Poonch District of J&K.
BAT teams are mix of Pakistan army troops and terrorists. The BAT team killed two members of the patrol (Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh, an Army JCO and BSF Head Constable Prem Sagar) and beheaded them. Two other BSF personnel in the patrol survived. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said, “This is a reprehensible and an inhuman act. Such attacks don’t happen even during a war, let alone peace … The sacrifice of these soldiers will not go in vain.” Pakistan denied its army was involved in any ceasefire violation, adding India’s blame of “mutilating Indian soldiers is also false”. Abdul Basit, Pakistani High Commissioner at New Delhi summoned by MEA was caught grinning to himself by reporters. This is not the first time that Pakistan has indulged in mutilations. On 15 May 1999, just before outbreak of the Kargil Conflict, a six-member patrol led by Captain Saurabh Kalia in Kaksar Sector of J&K were captured, tortured for days and their mutilated bodies returned on June 9. Thereafter, Pakistani army has indulged in mutilations and beheadings in February 2000, June 2008, January 2013, October 2016 and November 2016, the incident on April 30 this year being the seventh such incident.
Pakistan has always blatantly denied involvement of their army in these incidents but they have always been implicit in these heinous crimes. Pakistan TV screened in the past showed Naik Sule Khan of Pakistan army boasting to Pakistani parliamentarians how they dealt with Captain Saurabh Kalia and his patrol in 1999. Again, regional Pakistani papers reported Musharraf felicitating terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri and rewarding him with Rupees one lakh for bringing the head of an Indian soldier to Pakistan. The fact remains that the Pakistani army cannot get over the ignominy of losing East Pakistan with 93,000 prisoners of war taken by the Indian Army. Hence, they have taken to terrorism and extremely such actions. The Pakistani army holds its country to ransom having infiltrated every institution and department of the country. In order to continue enjoying power and money, it seeks conflict with both India and Afghanistan. The Pakistani public is aware of the military-ISI-terrorist nexus but is caught in the quagmire. When US marines raided and killed Osama bin-Laden at Abottabad in vicinity of the Pakistan Military Academy, write ups in Pakistani media lambasted the Pakistani military for having been totally surprised deep inside its territory.
The Pakistani military follows the book ‘The Quranic Concept of War’, authored by Brigadier SK Malik of the Pakistan Army. The preface of the book is written by Allah Buksh K Brohi, former Pakistani high commissioner to India, and Zia-Ul-Haq, former President of Pakistan and Pakistani Army Chief of Staff, opens the book by focusing on the concept of jihad within Islam and explaining it is not simply the domain of the military. The book justifies use of terrorism, exhorting every Pakistani citizen to participate in jihad. Little wonder that a noted nuclear physic of Pakistan wrote in 2009 that the promotion of militarism in Pakistan’s schools, colleges and universities has had profound effect on young people, with militant jihad having become a part of the culture in college and university campuses, and armed groups inviting students for jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan. The ‘UN Convention against Torture’, is an international human rights treaty aimed to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment around the world. However in covert trans-border crimes as discussed here, not only are the acts blatantly denied, but here you have a rogue country like Pakistan who takes no action against propagators of terrorist attacks like 26/11, attacks on IAF base Patahnkot, Uri, Gurdaspur and host of other incidents, where ample evidence has been provided by India. Ironically, Captain Saurabh Kalia’s father is fighting a lone battle to get justice for his son’s mutilation, torture and killing. None of the Indian governments have even protested to the UN.
In the overall context, any amount of defensive measures in J&K and odd cross-border action is not going to tame Pakistan. As this article goes to the press, news has come of Lt Ummer Fayaz, while on leave in Shopian (J&K) being abducted and killed by terrorists. The sub-conventional war must be taken deep inside Pakistan at the strategic level, something that India has been shying away from.