By Lt Gen P. C. Katoch
The slanging match at UN General Assembly (UNGA) is already underway. Pakistan has already accused India of stage managing the terrorist attack in Uri to divert attention from Kashmir. And this is not the first time Pakistan has displayed such brazenness. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will go hyper to talk about Indian atrocities in Kashmir and need for plebiscite in accordance with the 1948 UN Resolution on Kashmir. The world is perhaps unaware that: one, the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was legally ceded to India in 1947; two, the said UN resolution marked Pakistan as aggressor and that is why Pakistan was required to withdraw its forces from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK); three, issue of plebiscite is dead because Pakistan has deliberately changed the demography of PoK and the 1972 India-Pakistan Shimla Agreement made the UN resolution redundant; four, result of the first ever poll on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC ) in J&K conducted by Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), UK in conjunction with King’s College during 2009-2010 brought out that 98% of people in J&K do not wish to be part of Pakistan and 50% of people in PoK do not wish to remain with Pakistan; five, Pakistan has been waging a proxy war in J&K and inducing Wahabism but only 15% population on 7% territory of J&K is affected, and; six, pellet gun casualties in J&K are nothing compared to the aerial and artillery bombardment and genocide that Pakistan has been doing in Baluchistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Uri terrorist attack was masterminded by Pakistan through Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists surprising the army in the early hours of the morning, lobbing incendiary grenades and then spraying bullets, some of the grenades setting the diesel dump on fire. 19 soldiers are already reported dead and some 30 injured. 13 of those reportedly killed were in two tents that caught fire. The four terrorists, all foreigners, were eventually gunned down. All four were carrying items with Pakistani markings including map, GPS, explosives (RDX and TNT), a matrix sheet of codes and notes in Pashto besides AK 47 rifles and under-barrel grenade launchers. This is not the first time that Pakistan has used JeM to attack India.
The terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in January this year too was the handiwork of JeM, as also terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Pampore. JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are also operating with impunity in Afghanistan as clearly brought out in the report release this July by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) headed by Tadamichi Yamamoto.
Sure there is plenty condemnation of the terrorist attack in Uri by world leaders, with the exception of China, and the best perhaps from Russia, which has cancelled its joint tactical exercise with Pakistan scheduled from September 24 to October 7 to be held in Pakistan in areas of Rattu and Cherat and has also ruled out possibility of any Su-35 and Su-37 deal with Pakistan. But overall response from the global community to the crucible of terror (Pakistan) is too soft to say the least and Pakistan remains defiant not only because of the close support of China but continuing support by the US, at least in the near term.
Significantly, it is UNAMA, not US intelligence that has pointed out JeM and LeT operating in Afghanistan. It is the Head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, who labeled the July 23, 2016 terrorist attack on Hazaras in Kabul that killed 80 and wounded 231, a “war crime”. The ISIS may have claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, but the dead Pakistani terrorist clearly indicated Pakistani involvement. Yet, there is dithering in labeling Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’, not even putting it under economic sanctions by the world.
A US Senate panel has accused Pakistan of playing a double game and that Pakistani proxies killing US soldiers especially in Afghanistan. US and NATO Generals in Afghanistan had been pointing this out for years, pointing to the need to attack the hatcheries of terrorists in Pakistan. Yet the US administration deflected the issue by saying Pakistan is a big state, as if Pakistan was any smaller and not nuclear when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, threatened Pakistan to join the Global War on Terror (GWOT) or be prepared to get “bombed into Stone Age”.
Isolated predator attacks are hardly the solution to a rogue state like Pakistan but then why can’t the US administration threaten Pakistan to stop generation of terror the way Hillary Clinton did? The nuclear bluff of Pakistan needs to be called, at least bring it to the state of penury like North Korea and let China expend its energies to keep this nuclear talon also alive, in addition to North Korea. Former US President George Bush was pretty vocal about the “Axis of Evil” and had already planned in 2001 to take out Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran, as disclosed in 2011 by General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, but what about the China-Pakistan-North Korea axis?
James B. Comey, Director FBI, went public on July 27, 2016 saying, “the eventual victory against the Islamic State could well lead to an uptick of terrorist attacks in the west, not a reduction in them … hundreds of really dangerous people, and they are going to flow primarily to Western Europe, but some could well end up in the United States”. So what is the message; why go for the so called “eventual victory” which is unachievable anyway, but then preventing reverse exodus into the US and Western Europe can best be achieved by diverting the caboodle elsewhere – and what better way than the Af-Pak region.
The Pakistan army has never won a conventional war and has won the distinction of being perhaps the only army in the world to have lost half the country (East Pakistan), surrendering 93,000 of its rank and file headed by a Lieutenant General as prisoners of war. What better than letting the Pakistan army be consumed by sub-conventional forces that would not ripple- effect mainland China? This should be possible with Wikileaks recently disclosing that during Obama’s second term as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton authorized the shipment of American-made arms to Al Qaeda and ISIS through Qatar; “1,700 emails contained in the Clinton cache directly connect Hillary to Libya to Syria, and directly to Al Qaeda and ISIS”.
The countries that are directly affected by Pakistani terror are India and Afghanistan and, to some extent, Iran. Pakistan is confident, though shakily, that India will not attack and that is why it keeps wagging its nuclear tail every now and then. But Pakistan is more confident that India will not bomb and attack the small-numbered radicalized population of J&K as Pakistan is doing in Balochistan and FATA or Sri Lanka did to LTTE, nor would India engage in reverse ethnic cleansing like Pakistan orchestrated for Kashmiri Pundits from Kashmir Valley. But the bottom line is that while Pakistan may not be affected much through diplomatic isolation, it is enveloped by India, Afghanistan and Iran. It is these three countries that must conjointly plan to deal with Pakistan diplomatically, economically, militarily including sub-conventionally and through information operations – in conjunction with friendly countries that genuinely want Pakistan cut to size.
*Lt Gen P. C. Katoch is veteran Special Forces of Indian Army. Comments and suggestions on this article can be sent on: [email protected]