Pakistan’s brutality cannot be left unpunished
by Jaibans Singh on 13 Jan 2013 8 Comments

The nation was just about coming to grips with the brutal gang-rape in New Delhi when its collective sensibility was assaulted by the equally brutal killing of two of its brave soldiers, Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, while patrolling the line of control at Mendhar, Jammu and Kashmir. While there exists no doubt about this sordid incident being the handiwork of beasts who pass off as soldiers in the Pakistan Army, the Government of Pakistan would like us to believe that somebody from Mars or elsewhere came down to commit this crime against humanity. The entire establishment from Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India brazenly denied the involvement of their soldiers in the dastardly affair.


Yet brutality of this nature is not new to the Pakistan Army; the world is well aware of the manner in which Captain Saurabh Kalia and five brave Indian soldiers were taken captive by the Pakistan Army during the Kargil war and subjected to the most horrendous forms of torture over 22 days from May 15 to June 07, 1999. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to India, each with a single bullet in the temple, indicating cold bloodied murder. The family of Captain Saurabh Kalia, unable to come to terms with this crime against humanity, is fighting a lonely battle to get justice for their son even as Pakistani leaders go about making crude, insensitive remarks on this issue.


A similar incident, though unsubstantiated so far, is said to have taken place in 2001-02 at Naushera, Jammu and Kashmir.  In this instance, 14 soldiers of the Indian Army were killed and mutilated in a guerrilla type raid by Pakistan soldiers. The matter was kept under wraps by India in order to salvage the ongoing diplomatic effort to bring about normalcy in Indo-Pakistan relations. However, since the incident happened when ceasefire was not in place, the Indian Army is said to have flattened out the post from where the raid took place.


As the nation grieves this callous loss, there is need to reflect on the situation, especially in light of the fact that such behaviour is routine for Pakistanis. India has sent a strong protest but would that be sufficient? Should we express our horror for a few days and get back to business as usual mode, or should we get to grips with this clear indicator of the confrontational mindset that continues to prevail in the neighbouring country? Or is our eagerness to play cricket and open the visa regime a bit off the mark?


Let us take a global view of the whole affair. India is a rising global power and a big regional power. How would a power like the United States or China react to an incident of this nature? Surely by now at least the local area from where this brutality emanated would have been destroyed with air and artillery fire. If the whole matter culminates with some meetings and a few guarded words spoken by our Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) then no message would have been sent to the Pakistani Army and such intransigence will keep happening.


Public outcry has emerged as a potent force in recent times. For India, the loss of two brave soldiers in this manner is as grave as the gang-rape that triggered massive nationwide protests. The brutality and inhumanity of both incidents is of comparable level. The public, therefore, needs to express its anger against Pakistan on the streets. People-to-people contact and initiatives like the ongoing South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) meetings and Aman Ki Asha type of programme’s need a serious relook in the light of these developments. India must reject the double standards prevalent in Pakistan’s attitude.


There is a need to put a lid on all talk of lowering the security threshold in Jammu and Kashmir. It is not the sole responsibility of the Indian Army and a few analysts to cry hoarse about the enhanced threat levels prevalent in the State; this is there for all to see. Unfortunately, some lobbies are hell bent on politicising the issue in a manner that could spell disaster. It should never be forgotten that those who are guarding our frontiers are good human beings and honourable soldiers; if denigrated while performing their duty they feel bad. To say that their morale and efficiency is not adversely affected would be a mistake.


The bottom line, therefore, is that the time for India to flex its muscles in tune with its global and regional status has arrived. Agreed both India and Pakistan need to exercise restraint, but we also need to lay down a threshold which says - this far and no more. It is time for the MEA to give credence to the security imperatives of the nation while chalking out intricate diplomatic moves. It is time for the Ministry of Defence to assert itself on such issues. The modalities are for government to decide, but firm action is definitely called for. The government needs the strong support of the people who will not take such brutality against their soldiers lying down. Pakistan should be given a clear message to relent or get ready to face the consequences. In Jammu and Kashmir, any talk of a lowering of the security threshold should be given a firm shut up.


The author is editor,

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