Terrorist Attack On Pilgrim Bus In J&K: Pakistan’s Perfidy Continues Unabated – OpEd


On June 9, Pakistan sponsored terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on a bus carrying pilgrims in the Reasi district of J&K killing nine and injuring 33 passengers. The date and timing of this dastardly attack as well as the target weren’t randomly selected -while the date and timing coincided with the oath taking ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the passengers travelling in the bus that was attacked were exclusively Hindu devotees who were on pilgrimage.

Needless to say, this cold blooded massacre that occurred as Modi took oath for his third consecutive term as Prime Minister followed by three other terror attacks within 72 hours was primarily meant to mock New Delhi’s claim of normalcy returning to J&K. Similarly, the obvious objective of targeting a bus exclusively carrying Hindu pilgrims was to incite communal violence as it would buttress Islamabad’s ludicrous narrative that Muslims in India are getting a raw deal.

However, the plan of Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence [ISI] which is directing the ongoing proxy war in J&K to create mayhem through this extremely perverse act has failed. This incident has created such intense revulsion that even pro-Pakistan All Parties Hurriyat Conference [APHC] whose tallest leader SAS Geelani had proudly admitted that “we never denied or ignored the role of [the gun] in our struggle,” had to issue a statement condemning the Reasi bus terrorist strike!

Now that its brazen provocation has failed to create unrest, the Pakistan army is visibly rattled by the looming threat of retribution by India which is evident from the otherwise reticent Pakistan army chief Gen Syed Asif Munir suddenly turning offensively vocal after the Reasi bus terrorist attack. As per The Express Tribune, he has noted “that post-election, India has been attempting to mask its aggression with false propaganda and provocations against Pakistan,” but he hasn’t been able to substantiate these allegations.

By talking about “false flag operations” and threatening that any provocation or violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty will be met with a swift and resolute response,” Gen Munir may be trying to put up a brave face. However, the timing, tone and tenor of his rant leaves no room for any doubt that he’s definitely perturbed by the distinct possibility of New Delhi avenging the cold-blooded murder of innocent Indians, and since such retribution already has a precedent, Rawalpindi’s apprehensions are well founded. It’s also an admission of complicity and guilt!

While New Delhi is under public pressure to take punitive action as the majority feel that there is no other language which Pakistan understands, there are some who despite being aware of Pakistan’s brazen duplicity on the Kashmir issue still believe that talks can normalise the situation. National Conference [NC] president Farook Abdullah is one such person who feels that the present government in Pakistan wants “to have a peaceful atmosphere with us,” and hence suggests “Let’s open the door to them.”

While the NC president’s optimism is praiseworthy, past experience has proven beyond any doubt that expecting any positive move from Islamabad’s side to amicably resolve the Kashmir issue is [to say the least], being acutely delusional. What needs to be clearly understood is that even if Islamabad is keen to normalise relations with India, Rawalpindi will definitely play spoiler and being the last word in Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, the army will never allow any rapprochement between New Delhi and Islamabad, simply because normalcy would demolish Rawalpindi’s contrived narrative of it being the nation’s ultimate bulwark that’s keeping Indian hegemonistic ambitions at bay!

Those who advocate peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue through are perhaps not aware of the reality coming right from the proverbial horse’s mouth. In his book ‘The Other Side of The Mountain’, Former Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has mentioned the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh telling his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2013 that “Mian Saheb, no Indian Prime Minister can sign away Kashmir, and nor can I…”

Two years later, while addressing the inaugural session of Srinagar Media Summit organised by Lehar NGO, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar mentioned that “My friendship with Nawaz Sharif goes back a long way,” and revealed that “I met him in Jeddah [Saudi Arabia] during his wilderness years… He told me ‘Neither we can take Kashmir from you, nor you can give Kashmir [to us]’.” With Nawaz Sharif [who is president of PML-N party which is currently part of Pakistan’s coalition government] expressing helplessness on the issue of Kashmir, how can one expect it to be sorted out through talks?

Lastly, it would be worthwhile for those who still think that the Pakistan sponsored proxy war in J&K can be ended through dialogue to understand the near complete dependence of Islamabad’s feeble Kashmir narrative on terrorism. In an interview given to Der Spiegel in 2010, when asked “Why did you form militant [terrorist] underground groups to fight India in Kashmir,” former president of Pakistan and its ex army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf nonchalantly replied, “They were indeed formed. The government turned a blind eye because they wanted India to discuss Kashmir.”

Eight years later, during an interview with a domestic news channel, Gen Musharraf not only disclosed that “In 1990s the freedom struggle [terrorism] began in Kashmir…At that time Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] and 11 or 12 other organisations were formed,” but also went as far as accepting that “We supported them and trained them as they were fighting in Kashmir…” [Emphasis added]. This admission of Rawalpindi using terrorists to wage proxy war in J&K is buttressed by none other than chief of the ISI created United Jihad Council and head of Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin who has admitted that “we are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir.” [Emphasis added].

Since it’s giving Rawalpindi the low cost option of bleeding India through a thousand cuts, how can anyone expect Pakistan to give up sponsoring terrorism in J&K?

While the NC president and others who opine that military action will not resolve the Kashmir imbroglio are spot-on, given Rawalpindi’s obdurate stance, parleys not be of any help either. This is exactly what Abdullah has implied by observing that “The terrorists are coming through borders, and they will continue coming. Whichever government will be there tomorrow, will have to face the same thing…” So, while his genuine concern and anguish “that innocent people are getting killed,” is understandable, the NC president’s belief that this tragedy can be overcome through dialogue is unfortunately misplaced.

Accordingly, while military action may not end the incessant tribulations of the Kashmiris caused by terrorism, punitive action against perpetrators would certainly serve as a deterrent, and hence is the only practical option available to New Delhi for ensuring that terrorist violence levels do not spiral out of control!

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a ‘Kashmir-Watcher,’ and now after retirement is pursuing his favorite hobby of writing for newspapers, journals and think tanks.

One thought on “Terrorist Attack On Pilgrim Bus In J&K: Pakistan’s Perfidy Continues Unabated – OpEd

  • June 19, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    Pakistan’s generals and their pliant civilian leaders are getting ever more frustrated over the success of Indian democracy in delivering prosperity for its people while their own country is plunging ever more deeper in economic sink hole.


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