Death looms large on the borders. The uncalled for manifestation of muscular power of the Pakistani army is visible in the ghastly sight of scattered bodies of women and children on either side of the international border. Without any fear of contradiction, it is a matter of record that the guns that boom from across the international border and the Line of Control are responsible for the killings on both sides of the border. There is always a provocation from across to which the Indian Army retaliates. The bullets and mortars draw no distinction between Hindus and Muslims nor do they spare women and children, not even infants.Why is the blame being attributed to the Pakistani army? There are many answers. But one would explain this. On the night of August 22 when the National Security Adviser-level talks between India and Pakistan were cancelled, soldiers on the Pakistani side lit the sky in the Poonch sector with celebratory gunfire and the bursting of crackers as if it was Eid. It substantiated the fact that the Pakistani army was against discussing terror. The Kashmir issue was just a passion-arousing camouflage. Separatists were led on to a path of delusion.
Spare border residents
It was a situational irony; the separatists were desperate to become a part of the terror narrative while their claim remains that they are pursuing a “peaceful movement.” This ripped off all pretensions that Pakistan was not part of the terror campaign in Kashmir. It has adopted some ideologues, who in turn have recruited executers of terror in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan is playing with fire, and will be punished. This jingoistic rhetoric adds to the tragedies suffered by border residents. Instead of helping them live in peace, such ultra-military noises and violence on borders have perforated their homes and crowded cremation grounds and graveyards.
The border residents want peace not mortar shells. They are scared of the warmongering by Pakistan. Pakistani generals have now opted for the most dangerous game of nuclear blackmail. It has been threatened that Pakistan will use nuclear weapons of mass destruction if India fails to follow its line. It was clear from Pakistan National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz‘s explicit assertion, “Pakistan is a nuclear power.” It was as if Aziz was revealing a secret – the world knew of it much before Chagai hills in Baluchistan shook in May 1998, when Pakistan conducted atomic explosions.The supposed elevation of Pakistan having the “third largest nuclear arsenal in the next five to ten years,” by two American think tanks might have sounded music to ears of many in Pakistani establishment, but it could signal Armageddon. Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy rightly asked: “Is the third largest large enough”. He has warned of a catastrophe.A disturbing question is why civilians are being killed. There is no logic. It is senseless violence. Pakistan might be attempting to highlight what it calls the “Kashmir issue”. But it is a big smokescreen for the real intentions. True, that India lost its conventional war superiority lever by the 1998 nuclear explosions with Pakistan going in for tit-for-tat atomic explosions. Threatening the use of nuclear weapons is as crude as it could be. Read with Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif’s squinted profile of India as the “only external threat” to his country. This also explains why Pakistan is perpetually keeping the borders hot and killing civilians.
The General Headquarters of Pakistani army in Rawalpindi has readied its plans which smack of a war mindset. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who could not stand up to Pervez Musharraf’s Kargil misadventure in 1999, is once again a portrait of helplessness in 2015. Nothing has changed in Pakistan in all these years.General Sharif knows that the military actions do not go unchallenged. India’s response, when provoked, is robust. Our nation is having an illusion about the existence of ceasefire that was brought about in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-Pervez Musharraf era in 2003. It believes that it is responding to the “ceasefire violations” by Pakistan. When there is daily violence on borders, the ceasefire stood ripped apart long ago.There is another disadvantage for India. Pakistan takes the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan to the shelled homes and slain civilians because that is part of Islamabad’s strategy to keep the K word for the international community. India doesn’t do that because it still believes in the efficacy and decency of bilateral diplomacy. Pakistan should travel the same path for peace. The two countries have no option but to do so. Otherwise, civilians will continue to die and we will have nothing but mourning wails filling the air.