By K.N. Pandita
Home Minister Shinde has reiterated that Pakistan’s terror structure in the occupied part of J&K is intact. This is also what the Prime Minister has said in recent days. The just retired GOC-in-C Northern Command Lt. Gen. Parnaik, too, had said in some detail when interacting with media persons a couple of days before he demitted office. In a recent meeting of the Commandants of JKAP Director General of Police also spoke about the presence of several hundred armed militants across the LoC in PoK. In his address to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for Home Affairs the Home Minster did not mince words about the threat posed by these lashkars to our national security. We have got used to it.
Home Minister’s statement that 300 to 400 armed terrorists are waiting across the LoC in PoK to sneak into our side of the line is to be taken on its face value. But the figures have been varying from time to time. The terrorist training camps in PoK are regularly shifted from place to place in order to maintain their secrecy. Sometimes we are told that the ranks of terrorists are depleting because fresh recruitment is not forthcoming. We are also given statistics to prove that attempt of infiltration have come down in comparison to previous years. We do not find any attempt of concerned authorities to reach the roots of ever changing contours of the strategy of terrorists. In this context firstly, it is important to define that the terrorists are actually jihadis fighting for the expansion of their faith. Their mentors tell them that jihad, meaning struggle in the path of religion, is something very noble and Allah rewards martyrdom of a jihadi with Paradise. A non-religious terrorist has no such indoctrination. Secondly, the jihadis from Pakistan have successfully implemented part of their operative strategy against our country. They have created their local network in J&K State especially the Kashmir valley, which is fully functional according to the desk book rules. Additionally, they have spread their fangs in many vulnerable parts of the country and given birth to the Indian Mujahideen about which the Home Minster has dropped a hint. SIMI is also part of the game. With local chapters activated for running jihad in India, the need for infiltration bids is reduced. In days to come we will find further reduction in infiltration bids by the jihadis in PoK but simultaneously we will see groundswell in jihadi operations in Kashmir and the rest of the country. Therefore reduction in infiltration bids will not bring any solace.
In recent weeks, there has been definite increase in jihadi attacks in Kashmir. Last fortnight, eight Army soldiers were killed and 11 others injured in a gunfight with a group of terrorists in Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar. Two policemen on duty were gunned down in Pulwama. In Sopor and Baramulla sectors also jihadis have become active. Some terrorist modules were busted and made ineffective. In addition to this, Pakistan army continued providing cover fire to infiltrators. A Junior Commissioned Officer was killed when Pakistan opened heavy fire with automatic weapons and rockets on Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch sector last month. Pakistani troops had pounded Indian posts along LoC in the Poonch sector with rockets in May. A Brigadier and two jawans were injured when Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions along the LoC in Tutmari Gali sector in north Kashmir.
We should not be under any illusion that the gestures of goodwill by the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan will put overnight end to jihadi operations against our country. In Pakistan, it is the army and its ISI that enjoy real power. Mian Nawaz Sharif has a long battle to win against the army, a battle whose end result is murky and doubtful. We cannot hold him responsible for jihadi attacks in Kashmir just because the power that controls state terrorism in Pakistan rests in the hands of the army and not Mian Nawaz Sharif.
All that we would suggest to our policy planners is that there is need to modify anti-jihadi strategy and bring in innovative options instead of merely remaining confined to defensive strategy. There is no need to doubt the intentions of Mian Nawaz Sharif straightening relations with India. Normalizing Indo-Pak relations presupposes containment of Pakistan army within that country constitutional frame. The two things have to go simultaneously. Then alone can we find gradual dismantling of Pakistani terrorist structure. It is also important that the elected legislators and Panchayat members from such border areas in J&K as are prone to maximum infiltration are sensitized to their duty of ensuring that infiltrators are not given any quarter in their constituencies.