History has been unkind towards Pakistan, being consumed by global wars since the beginning, owing to the convergence of national and international interests. In its journey of 67 years, Pakistan is still traversing the unending strategic highway, marred by wars of all kinds. The series of cross border exchange of fire with the traditional enemy India remains unabated with skirmishes taking place periodically from time to time.
In the latest series of border firing, a civilian was martyred due to intense shelling at Charwa Sector, Sialkot. India has alleged that Pakistan initiated the fire ahead of Modi’s ‘Diwali’ visit to Srinagar. The Indian Border Security Force spokesman, stationed at the Line of Control reported, that Pakistani Rangers resorted to small-arms firing at a few BoPs along IB in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors. The symbolic melodies are also fading in the drums of war, as Indian troops refused to share Diwali sweets with their counter parts on the Pakistani side, saying that the present situation with Pakistan did not warrant such exchange of pleasantries.
Amidst a barrage of accusations and narratives being floated around on both sides, the situation remains volatile. India has warned Pakistan of ‘unbearable cost’ for its adventurism while Pakistan has hinted towards Nuclear war, if need arises. The tensions have escalated ever since Prime Minister Modi assumed charge. According to Sector Commander Chenab Rangers, Brigadier Waseem Zafar Bhatti, sporadic firing and use of 82mm mortars by Indian BSF soldiers has continued in different sectors of the working boundary since the Eid festival, earlier this month. He added that the BSF has violated the ceasefire 31 times so far this year, while there had been 33 violations by Indian troops in 2013 according to our assessments. Almost 17 civilians have been martyred on Pakistani side of the border, while more than 60 have been injured in the ongoing conflict.
India has constantly refused UN Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) to monitor and find facts on the pretext of third party mediation. Pakistan on the other hand has reached to UNSG Ban ki Moon and explained the country’s position and the facts on ground, in a letter. Advisor to the PM on National Security and Foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz wrote “India has now escalated the situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the working boundary. Persistent shelling and firing by Indian forces has resulted in heavy civilian casualties on the Pakistani side. During the period 1-10 October, 2014, 20 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 22 violations along the Working Boundary were reported, resulting in 12 civilian casualties, 52 injured civilians and 9 injured military personnel on the Pakistani side. From June to August 2014, there were 99 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 32 along the working boundary. In all, during 2014, 174 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 60 along the working boundary have been reported.
Chaprar, Charwah, Shkargarh and Bajwat are the areas that have faced the brunt of this unprecedented, disproportionate use of force by the Indian forces. Bala, Khurd, Naee Abaadi, Salehpur, Banwali, Jamia, Jamia Gujjar and dozen other villages at the Chaprar Sector have been hit by Indian mortars, destroying houses, killing livestock and injuring civilians. People evacuate the villages during the evenings and return in the day during these days for safety. More than forty villages have been evacuated in Bajwat Sector, while ceilings of houses have been blown apart at Charwah. Sleeping in the balcony of his house, 70 year old, Ghulam Hussain was martyred on the second day of Eid. “We asked our father to leave the village but he refused, saying he was not afraid of the Indians and will not leave his house” said the wailing daughter-in-law. Another young man Asif 22, was hit by a sniper fire as he stood in front of his house. There is hardly any electricity in the area, while the schools remain closed. People are angry with the local government for non cooperation, however, their willingness to defend Pakistan along with the Armed forces remains undeterred.
“There is no possibility of any infiltration from the working boundary; India has taken strong counter infiltration measures on the border, so by all these accusations and cross border aggression, does India mean to say that their whole investment in the area has failed?” said an officer manning Pakistan’s post. He added “Indian intentions are different this time; they are conspiring for something big while we are prepared to defend every inch of our mother land”. There is a wider belief that these recent tensions are due to the election campaign in Kashmir; anti-Pakistan sentiments have always helped hardliner BJP and similar reasons are driving the events.
In an Interview to an Indian Channel, Pakistan’s Ex-Army Chief, General Musharraf openly declared Modi as ‘anti-Pakistan’ and ‘anti-Islam’, and accused India of waging a proxy war against Pakistan. Musharraf warned India of a Nuclear response if India turned to any form of misadventure by going for a limited war against Pakistan. Pakistan has triumphed in the testing period of GWOT, while Nawaz Sharif has failed to unite the country in such a sensitive situation. Iftikhar Durrani, lecturer of media and politics at the National Defence University, Islamabad says, “US knows Pakistan has battled out the war on terror and is close to victory”. He further adds, “there is a conspiracy to keep the Armed forces of Pakistan busy as the Nato forces withdraw. On the contrary, Pakistan Army has emerged stronger than before, because of the stress of International coalition on the western border”. On a question about the Government’s response, Mr.Durrani said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is said to have business interests in India and feels more insecure because of the Army than India, a fact which he stated to Narendra Modi during his visit to India, earlier this year.
The dimensions of the security and strategic games are evolving. Iranian border guards have also fired shells and violated Pakistan’s south western border in Baluchistan, while India with its interests in Afghanistan, post US withdrawal, is continuously posing itself as an evolving conflict that is ensuing at a time when Pakistan is in a political turmoil, as well as involved in a highly sensitive operation against terrorists in N.Waziristan. As the overall picture becomes clearer, from Baluchistan to Fata, and to the eastern border with India, this is not a traditional war- a war that is different than what people have witnessed before, as there are more friends of enemies involved than enemies itself!
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