In an eerie déjà vu of the Mumbai massacre, Pathankot and Uri’s false-flag operation(s), India again unimaginatively fabricates an account, accusing Pakistan of masterminding the heinous Pulwama attack. This is another odious example of the BJP’s Brahmin Samraj malevolently maligning Pakistan while deviously diverting the world’s attention from Delhi’s ongoing genocide of innocent civilians in illegally occupied Kashmir — a death valley drenched in eternal blood.
Some years ago, the cover page of The Economist had a cat looking in the mirror seeing itself as a lion. The caption read “Can India become a great power?” While India is by no means a great power — with millions sleeping in the streets; women getting raped; Dalits treated like animals; radical voices silenced, told in great detail by the brave Arundhati Roy; ruled over by a prime minister whose claim to fame is his key role in killing over 1,200 Muslims in Gujarat state when he was the chief minister there — the funny part is that it acts like one.
Superpowers have always jeopardised their security due to flawed foreign policies and aggression in distant lands. India does the same with its Whack-A-Mole strategy in occupied Kashmir. The Pulwama attack killing 40 members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and injuring many more should be an awakening call for the Modi regime.
Bunkers are being rebuilt and a blackout has been ordered, but schools and bazaars remained open on Thursday in Chakothi, a border village in Azad and Jammu Kashmir, after a deadly attack sent tensions with the neighbouring India soaring.
Residents were worried but life was going on in the village of some 3,000 inhabitants just three kilometres from the Line of Control.
Schoolchildren attended classes as usual and customers crowded the markets and stalls of the bazaar.
Tensions have spiraled in recent days following a suicide attack in Indian occupied Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian paramilitaries and was reportedly claimed by the banned outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Shabbir Ahmed Pirzada, a resident of Chakothi, decided to rehabilitate an old bunker next to his house that was first built in 2000, when the Indian army frequently bombarded the area.
Chakothi has not been touched since a ceasefire was declared in 2003.
“God forbid, if such situation develops, we can save ourselves in the bunker. We are not afraid, as we have seen Indian shelling in the past,” he said.
Local authorities have encouraged residents in areas near the Line of Control to take additional precautions against the risk of “mischievous action” by the Indian army.
“Bunkers should be constructed in areas where they don’t exist. Unnecessary lighting should be avoided after sunset and people should refrain from travelling on roads located close to LoC,” the local disaster management agency has warned residents.
“We are scared for our children when they go to school,” said Jamila Kathoon, a housewife, pointing out that the local school had been hit by shelling in the past.
“We had built bunkers in our mud houses in the past, for our safety. Now we have houses with tin roofs, which are not safe. There will be more loss if there is shelling in the area,” added another resident, Zaheer Ahmed. “We are very worried,” he said.
Others are worried about the economic consequences of the crisis.
The cross-border bus service serving both sides of Kashmir since 2005, as well as modest barter operations implemented in 2008 as part of peace efforts, were partially halted this week by Delhi.
“There will be huge losses to the traders… The two countries should find a political solution to the Kashmir issue,” said Jan Muhammad, a Kashmiri trader.
The aftermath of Pulwama is already witnessed by an alarming rise in violent anti-Muslim sentiment in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and across India. Hindutva militant mobs VHP and Bajrang Dal activists yearning for “pounds of flesh” violently attacked Muslim Kashmiris, burning Muslims’ cars to ashes and vandalizing property in Prem Nagar, Pacca Danga, Rehari, Gummat, Narwal, Janipur, Gujjar Nagar as the local police impotently watched the spectacle as mute spectators.
Hours into the Pulwama attack it was pointing fingers at Pakistan. Not something new that we are not aware of but the Indian impulsiveness to blame Pakistan every time a terrorist incident occurs mocks the very concept of examination, exploration and investigation which must be carried out before reaching a final verdict. One can imagine the burden PM Modi and his nation faces at the moment. India doesn’t want to lose Kashmir but it is fast losing it.
February 14 pulverized Pulwama as a suicide bomber, Adil Ahmed Dar, a local citizen from Pulwama and not some “foreign militant”, previously humiliated by Indian forces, armed with a vehicle-based improvised explosive device (VBIED) and 350kgs of local Indian explosives heinously blew up a convoy with 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel to smithereens.
Adil Dar, the perpetrator, avenged the everyday oppression, rape and humiliation of Kashmiris by sacrificing his own life blowing up the CRPF personnel (a hard target). A “mighty” army of nearly one million is deeply disgraced in their attempt to suppress a population which will now go to any extreme for freedom.
Dar was “from a village about six miles from where the Indian convoy was struck, in contrast to the fighters and weapons that once streamed in from Pakistani-occupied areas to sustain the insurgency.” This is a different ball game that India must not ignore. “Many Kashmiris loathe the paramilitary unit, viewing it as an occupying force recruited from across India to suppress them. Mr Dar’s attack on Thursday was aimed at the force, whose use of pellet guns against protesters has blinded scores of people.”
The Pulwama attack if anything is actually a great reminder to the Indian policy-makers that what cannot go for ever will not last. A freedom fight that has stood up against state terrorism for 70 long years will not end by state oppression. In its true nature violence begets violence and India may try to create as many side shows or diversions it wants by implicating Pakistan in the miserable situation that it has set itself in — there is enough fuel on the fire in Kashmir to insidiously burn and let India feel its uncomfortable political and military heat.
The Indian government blaming Pakistan for the tragic Pulwama debacle is an age-old sinister scapegoat tactic the timing of which is susceptible, especially as India heads for general elections in months where Modi’s BJP regime is vote starved given a lacklustre economy and the rise of Priyanka Gandhi. Therefore, anti-Pakistan war-mongering hysteria reaps rich electoral rewards for a power-hungry Modi as it did during the 2002 Gujarat massacre where Modi used 59 dead bodies of Godhra’s train to manipulate emotions and win the elections. He is repeating this now with 44 CRPF soldiers.
The Pulwama incident is not a Pakistan-sponsored act of terrorism as India claims but an incident which is a consequence of the unending violence and brutality that the Indian forces have unleashed on the people of Occupied Kashmir. There is no extremist ideology in Occupied Kashmir like there is no Pakistan abetting and supporting any violent blowback against the Indian forces.
There is only the will of the Kashmiri people and their unwavering commitment to their right to self-determination and a deeply determined moral responsibility of the government of Pakistan. The responsibility to never back off from politically and morally supporting their Kashmiri brothers and simultaneously highlighting to the whole world the atrocities committed by the Indian forces against the people of Occupied Kashmir.
India’s swift succession of measures such as immediately calling their High Commissioner from Pakistan to New Delhi for briefing, issuing a strong diplomatic démarche to Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, along with their Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, revoking Pakistan’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) status seem all-to-perfectly timed, pre-meditated and choreographed.
India blames the LeT for being behind the deadly rampage by gunmen in its financial capital of Mumbai on November 9, 2008 that had left over 160 people dead. Delhi also claims that Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of JeM, the group that purportedly claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, is based in Pakistan.
It is ludicrous naïveté to accuse Pakistan of spearheading a VBIED and 350kgs of “local Indian explosives” attack in the world’s most militarized and securitized curfew driven region. Several glaring intelligence questions remain dubiously unanswered by Delhi.
If it is a test of wills — India must know that the people of Occupied Kashmir as well as Pakistan have the patience and the will to prevail — no matter what the cost.
The Indian false accusations and propaganda are only an ‘attention diverter’ — one may only look at the odds stacked against Pakistan for undertaking such a misadventure, some of these in the immediate context are – Pakistan hosting the state visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia; The Taliban’s engaging in a dialogue meeting in Islamabad on 19 February before their scheduled meeting with Americans on 25th February in Qatar; the hearing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case starts in the International Court of Justice in Hague on 18 February; the FATF scheduled meetup Paris on 18thFebruary to take a decision on whether Pakistan continues to remain in the grey list or not; a suicide bomber has already killed 27 members of Iranian revolutionary guards near the Pakistani border. Surely the timing of this attack is something that does not benefit Pakistan.
But it surely does benefit India. The successful foreign policy that the Imran Khan-led government has been executing and the manner in which to some extent it has been able to pull Pakistan out from regional and international isolation is something that doesn’t charm India.
The Indian media in their commercial quest for ratings by caustically attacking Pakistan has set a perilous precedent on social media, where anchors are elevated as “demigods” spewing anti-Pakistan venom with millions of sycophantic followers. If paid social media trolls trending hateful hash tags like #PulwamaRevenge or #Indiawantsrevenge truly cared about the CRPF soldiers they would not thirst for blood but demand peace. Such jingoistic war-lusting plays straight into the blood-stained hands of the BJP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has since been threatening to retaliate as it gave a free hand to the Indian forces to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. The move has further flared up tensions in the region with fears of a possible Indian use of force against Pakistan.
The Indian media quoted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting towards Pakistan in a headline that read: “If our neighbour thinks it can destabilize India, it’s making a big mistake”. The article emphasized on India’s resolve to “initiate diplomatic steps to ensure Pakistan’s isolation from the international community”.
India accuses Pakistan of “harbouring militants that cross into the Indian-held territory to carry out attacks against Indian rule”.
Post Pulwama: India’s response to the Pulwama attack
A producers guild in India has, once again, called for a total ban on Pakistani artists in the wake of the recent Pulwama attacks, reported Indian media.
The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) also cautioned film-makers to stop working with Pakistani talent or even releasing their films in Pakistan, reported IANS. “The federation won’t allow Pakistani artistes to work in Indian films. Also, we won’t let producers release their films in Pakistan. The entire trade (with Pakistan) will be called off as far as the film industry is concerned,” said FWICE chief advisor, Ashoke Pandit.
In a notice issued on Monday, the All India Cine Workers Association (AICWA) said, “We strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attack on our soldiers at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. AICWA stands with the nation in confronting such terror and inhumanity.”
Amid rising tension between India and Pakistan following the suicide attack on an Indian military convoy in occupied Kashmir, New Delhi removed the portrait of Prime Minister Imran Khan—former Pakistan cricket team captain—from the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Hindustan Times reported.
Muslim prisoners in jail
Apart from this, a Pakistani national in the Jaipur Central Jail since 2011 in a terrorism case, was stoned to death by other inmates on Wednesday, police said.
The Pakistani citizen, identified as Shakar Ullah, was reportedly attacked in a brawl related to the killing of 44 Indian Security Personnel at Pulwama in Kashmir by a Pakistan-inspired suicide bomber on February 14.
Reportedly, a team of doctors reached the Central Jail to treat the Pakistani national, but he had succumbed to the injuries.
Shakir Ullah, hailing from Sialkot, was serving life imprisonment after his conviction in a terror-related case. He was arrested in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2001.
The gruesome killing came as Indian media continues to whip up war hysteria since the killing of nearly three dozen Indian soldiers in a suicide attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) earlier this month, media sources said.
Despite continuing its economic retaliation with Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident, India raised the custom duty to 200% on all goods it imports from Pakistan, Indian media reported on Saturday.
India has withdrawn MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect. #Pulwama
— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 16, 2019
The decision will significantly hamper Pakistan’s exports to its neighbouring country, which stood at $488.5 million for the financial year 2017-18.
The decision will lead to drastic increase in price of imported goods – fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products and mineral ore.
Items which Pakistan exports to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, bulk minerals and ores, finished leather, processed minerals, inorganic chemicals, cotton raw, spices, wool, rubber product, alcoholic beverages, medical instruments, marine goods, plastic, dyes and sport goods.
Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to $2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against $2.27 billion in 2016-17. India imported goods worth $488.5 million in 2017-18 and exported goods worth $1.92 billion.
During April-October 2018-19, India’s exports to Pakistan stood at $1.18 billion, while imports were $338.66 billion.
India mainly exports raw cotton, cotton yarn, chemicals, plastics, manmade yarn and dyes to Pakistan.
The development comes after India withdrew its Most favorred Nation status for Pakistan.
“India has withdrawn MFN (most favoured nation) status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200 per cent with immediate effect,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a tweet.
Slapping an import duty of 200% effectively means almost banning the imports from Pakistan, official sources said.
India can also restrict trade of certain goods and impose port-related restrictions on Pakistani goods.
In a pursuance of belligerence, India has threatened to block the water supply to Pakistan in light of the Pulwama attack, media reported.
Shiraz Jamil Memon, the deputy PCIW, was responding to Gadkari — India’s minister for road transport & highways, shipping & water resources, and river development & Ganga rejuvenation — who had claimed that his “Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan”.
Memon said India did not have the ability or the technology to stop the water or readjust its direction.
Further, in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan’s eastside neighbour cannot prevent water coming from the Ravi, Satlaj, and Beas rivers into the country, the deputy PCIW added.
Dear India, here’s why the ‘Pulwama blame game’ needs to be ended
The premier, while addressing the nation earlier in the day, had offered India an olive branch, saying Islamabad is willing to act upon ‘actionable intelligence’ after sections of the Indian government and media accused the country of being involved in the Pulwama suicide attack in the Indian-occupied Kashmir that killed 44 paramilitary personnel on February 14.
At the same time, however, the prime minister also responded to India’s war hysteria by authorizing Pakistan’s armed forces to respond “decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India.”
“This is a new Pakistan and we are determined to demonstrate to our people that the state is capable of protecting them and believes that monopoly of violence stays with state,” the prime minister told the participants of the NSC meeting.
“We recognize that terrorism and extremism are the top issues in the region and the whole region, including Pakistan, has suffered,” Imran further said.
Pakistan is using back channels through its ‘friends and some influential countries’ to ease tensions with India, as the spectre of a possible conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours looms large.
The premier said the country would act against any individual who used Pakistani soil to plan or execute the attack.
Khan’s powerful speech was lauded by fans and celebs alike. Mawra Hocane, Ali Zafar, Hamza Ali Abbasi and others took to Twitter to praise the PM and his stance on the matter.
I am saying this clearly, this is a new Pakistan…and it is in our interest not to allow anyone from Pakistan to go outside and carry out attacks, or to allow anyone from the outside to come to Pakistan and carry out attacks.
— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) February 19, 2019
PM offers new solutions to old problems in an extremely intelligent & effective speech.
Thank you #PMIKTheStatesman 🇵🇰❤️
Always praying for dialogue & peace & more love in this region of this beautiful world! InshAllah ✨✨ @ImranKhanPTI
— MAWRA HOCANE (@MawraHocane) February 19, 2019
Listen with an open heart and mind devoid of ego, bias or hatred. If can’t, listen again after a few days in a moment of peace.#love #peace # #humanity #togetherness above all. PM Imran Khan Address To The Nation | Pulwama Attack | 19 Feb 2019 – YouTube https://t.co/wSXu5mNeeM
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) February 19, 2019
#PMIKTheStatesman I really hope the Indian masses can listen to PM Imran Khan's words & realise what kind of nonsense thr media is feeding them on orders from thr Govt.
— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) February 19, 2019
BBC is this what heard you from the whole speech? We heard an invitation to dialogue, peace offering, cooperation, rejecting escalating violence and not pushing each other into corners. Let me correct your headline for you: “PM offers new solutions to old problems.” #disappointed https://t.co/e2hA8IB3gN
— Armeena Khan (@ArmeenaRK) February 19, 2019
Dear prime minister yeh hota hay qaum day Khitab… proud moment🇵🇰🙏🏼❤️ pic.twitter.com/7vyJa6ayYk
— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) February 19, 2019
Previously India often falsely accused Pakistan of attacks, blaming Pakistan for Pathankot when their own National Intelligence chief, Sharad Kumar, later acknowledged that there was no proof linking Pakistan. Similarly, in 2016, Delhi blamed Islamabad for the Uri attack only to shelve the probe having found no evidence implicating Pakistan. Pakistan has nothing to gain from the Pulwama attack. Instead India should probe the deep-pocketed beneficiaries within its territory who seek to win the elections and sweep the controversial Rafale fighter aircraft deal under the carpet which implicates India’s very top echelons and tycoons cozy with the BJP.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for Pulwama yet it is a totally banned outfit in Pakistan. The surging popularity of the JeM in the valley, amongst fourth generation aggrieved Kashmiris, should sound the alarm bells for Indian politicians who force-feed a marginalised population a xenophobic ‘Kashmir Bharat ka Atoot Ang hai’ (Kashmir is an integral part of India) mantra. Such mind-numbing jingoistic myopia must cease.
Trump’s take on Indo-Pak tensions
Responding to a question regarding Indo-Pak tensions, the US president said his government is watching the situation. “I have seen it, I have watched it. I have gotten a lot of report on it. We will have a comment at the appropriate time.”
“It would be wonderful if they got along. It seems like that was a horrible situation but we are getting reports. And we will have a statement to put out,” he told reporters at a press conference at the White House.
Lethal suicide attacks will only intensify unless Indian security forces cease their atrocities such as blinding Kashmiri youth with pellets and forced disappearances. The Gawadakal, Handwara, Zakoora, Tengpora, Hawal and Sopore massacres are bone-chilling reminders of the Indian army’s egregious human rights violations.
From Shopian to Srinagar to the sacred temples of Kathua, Indian forces gang-rape mothers while perpetrators go unpunished. Such monstrosities fuel militancy in Kashmir, not run or remote-controlled from Islamabad, but domestically-grown as local Kashmiris turn to terror. India’s failure to peacefully integrate Kashmiris is now even acknowledged by pro-Indian Kashmiri leaders like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Since 1947, India has ignored the United Nations resolutions to allow a referendum to let the Kashmiri people decide if they want to join Pakistan or India. Kashmir is the world’s most densely-militarized region with over 700 thousand Indian soldiers deployed.
Politics demands persuasion and not a hodgepodge cluttering of political assumptions that take the form of a linear thinking. Indian politicians appearing on the Indian media are talking of giving some ‘punishing blows’ to a terrorist state. You find none telling the ‘compulsive TV watcher’ Indian nation that the ‘fault could be ours as well.’ An uncertain Indian nation with political and military uncertainties is creating a very uncertain security environment in the region.
When a policy reaches a point of departure and decides to employ an instrument of power it must bear in mind the end. The confrontational policy employed by India has been threatening to unleash a military confrontation between the two nuclear powers for quite some time now. One hopes that the most experienced in the Indian military and political establishment (in the words of Fredrick the great) is not a mule.
The Pulwama controvery delusion is pushing it further and further towards a reckless action against Pakistan. It is reckless because like the Kashmiris, Pakistan too will not turn the other cheek. If Modi initiates conflict in any shape, size or form, it will be reciprocated by Pakistan. This much is safe to assume. Once you start climbing the escalatory ladder, all bets are usually off.
A political act, an instrument of policy, an extended duel something that grows in the womb of policy — war may be defined as anything but once initiated it takes a momentum of its own. So be careful India, don’t press the red button.
Aggression creates terrorism, not the other way around. India is making the mistakes that superpowers have made. Does it have the same muscle to face the consequences? The biggest powers of the world couldn’t solve the problem of terror with aggression, what makes India think it will?
Note: This article has originally been written by Urooj Fatima