The responses of Pakistani political establishment, media and army, to Indian Airforce’s strikes on Jaish-e-mohammed training camps have been rather paradoxical. It was the the Pakistani media which first jumped guns to report the news of Indian intrusion, but soon-after they perhaps received phone calls from Imran Khan’s office, maybe from Mr. Khan himself or the army headquarters. The orders to the media from the establishment were clear and loud, “deny”.
But why was Pakistan both accepting and denying Indian strikes inside its soil, at the same time? The answer to this is simple, Narendra Modi led Government, in association with NSA Ajit Doval and highly competent intelligence officers caught Pakistan in such a situation where they were virtually clueless on how to react, and let me explain why.
Just imagine the public outrage in Pakistan, had their army came out to accept that ‘yes sir, Indian fighter jets did intrude inside the LoC at Jammu and Kashmir, crossed the occupied Kashmir in its entirety, entered Pakistani mainland, dropped ten bombs, massacred hundreds of Mujahideens, and went back, but we couldn’t do a thing about it. There would have been pressure on Pakistani Army which never misses an opportunity to flaunt its machismo, to retaliate.
However, Pakistan had a slight problem with any prospects of retaliation. There are no terror facilities in India for them to target, leaving only two options of either hitting Indian civilians or Army. Availing either options would have amounted to provocation of war, something that a sinking economy can’t even dream of affording. To put it simply, Pakistan was in no virtual position to take any sort of serious military action against India and so denial was not only their compulsion but perhaps the best option to sail through the situation.
However, problem with Pakistan is that they are even bad at denying. Since the strikes on Wednesday morning, there have been number of contradictory statements from Pakistan. Indian Airforce carried out the strikes at around 3:30-4:00am. Major General Asif Ghafoor, who also appears to be the spokesperson for entire Pakistan, came out to address a press conference at around 5:30pm, and issued a public invitation for the media to come and see the claimed site of strikes, more than 12 hours later.
For any professional army, well equipped with artillery, helicopters, other machines and full support of the state, it should not take more than 2-3 hours to clear debris, dispose dead bodies and cover signs of blast. .
Nevertheless, Mr. Ghafoor’s poor attempts of concealing the fact, made it even more apparent that some people were trying very hard to to hide something very bad. The pressure on Pakistani Army, was mounting and they gave up to it on Thursday morning by targeting military establishment in India. Pakistan, as I said, had no other options apart from targeting military facilities or civilians structures, both of which amounts to provocation of war. They opted for the former, and by doing so, shot in their own feet.
First, the attacks made it clear beyond doubts that terrorism in subcontinent is funded and supported by the Pakistani state. Secondly, Pakistan’s behaviour with Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman after catching him, was in pure violation to the Geneva convention guidelines. Various videos circulating on Internet shows some men in uniform savagely beating up Indian fighter pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
However, once some sense prevailed and Pakistanis realised the grave mistake they committed by sharing footages of their brutality on social media, a cover-up video was shared. In this video, Commander Varthaman was seen in a more relaxed position, with blood stains cleared, band-aids on wounds and a cup of tea in hand. On top of it, a visibly injured Abhinandan Varthaman was clearly being made to read out from a script handed out by Pakistani Army.
But that was probably way too late, as the damage has already been caused. It is only a matter of time before India takes up the issue of the violation of Geneva convention before international forums.
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