Pak-India escalating tensions

With Indian elections looming large, many organizations have conducted polls to evaluate which way the wind blows. The opinion polls were conducted between Jan 2018 to April 2019.  46% voted for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister whereas the closest running is Rahul Gandhi (Jan 2019) with best alternative to Modi (Jan 2019) with 52% of opinions swinging in his favor as opposed to other candidates.

Modi’s popularity graph has fallen since then with key issues being farmers suffering from low productions, having demanded a   minimum support price from the government. However, the prices have continued to fall. Lack of job opportunities is another. Creation of more jobs was a stated goal of BJP when it contested and came in power in 2014. Modi promised to create 10 million new jobs. A goal it missed by a very wide margin which is poised to have a severe backlash in the forthcoming elections.

Corruption in Rafale deal is yet another. In 2018, Indian opposition leaders demanded Modi’s resignation over allegations of corruption in a multi-billion dollar French fighter jet deal. “Mr Hollande sparked political controversy in India by telling French news website Mediapart that Mr Modi’s government had pressured Dassault to partner with India’s Reliance Defence to meet its “offset policy”. The “offset” clause in Delhi’s defence procurement rules says that foreign firms need to invest at least 30% of a deal’s worth back in India. It was introduced in India’s Defence Procurement Procedure in 2008 to boost domestic manufacturing.” (BBC News 26 September 2018) Congress accused Modi of helping Anil Ambani’s company in the said deal. Mr Hollande and his government did not have a decision making power in the appointment of the interlocutor.

India’s political landscape since Modi’s coming to office has changed. The Hindutva baggage ruling out all-inclusiveness of Indian citizens has left an acid taste in the mouth. India has shifted from her secular stance to a Hindu-based ideological base.

Modi needs a strong ground to boost his ratings for winning a second term as Prime Minister. Then came Pulwama.

Although, India bases the involvement of Jaish on a ‘text’ received, it has not shared any concrete evidence to the effect. The claim may or may not be true. This can only be ascertained after exhaustive investigations and not knee jerk reactions. If Jaish is involved, to state that it means the State of Pakistan is supporting the attack is unsustainable and needs a reality check.

Pulwama Facts:

Adil Ahmad Dar, also called Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala, 20 years of age, was a resident of Gundibagh village of Pulwama district of South Kashmir. According to Indian sources, he recorded a video before the suicide attack before ramming his explosive loaded vehicle into a CRPF convoy. Quoting from Kashmir Times, known as a reputable source on Kashmir Affairs, dated  9/10/2017 published a report of 2 militants killed and one arrested in Barbugh village of southern Shopian district.  “The encounter had started at around 6.00 PM Saturday after the forces including army and Special Operations Group (SOG) of police laid a siege to the village following an input about the presence of militants there. Official and local sources said that the fresh firing near the encounter site began this morning after the forces advanced towards the house for conducting searches. They said that as the fresh firing started, forces razed the house to the ground, killing another militant. He was identified as Tariq Ahmad Dar of Barbugh Shopian. The third militant, Adil Ahmad Dar, sources said, rose from the rubble of the house and was apprehended by the forces along with his weapon. He, they said, was soon whisked away in a forces vehicle for interrogation. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police for southern Kashmir, S P Pani said that the militants belonged to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The police officer also confirmed that one of the militants was caught alive near the gunfight site. The apprehended militant had joined militant ranks three months ago while as the slain were active for last over a year.”

The question that arises is:

-How could a man in custody, a known militant with full evidence, taken in custody at a shoot-out be released by the authorities?

-If released, was the person made to turn for Indian intelligence and reserved as an asset to be used later, or

-The killer was someone other than Adil Ahmed Dar and if so, is then the Indian government using this incident to attack Pakistan?

-If the man was not Adil Ahmed Dar, who was he?

Whereas, the death of Indian forces men in this act of extremism can only be mourned, it is a fact that Pakistan stands to lose by being involved at any level in this act of barbarism. Faced with a patchy economy, struggling to keep it afloat, trying to attract foreign investment and making CPEC a success, Pakistan would be utterly out of her mind to support any such mission with Saudi Crown Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) visit immediately following the attack. It defies common sense. Imran Khan upon becoming Prime Minister went out of his way to offer a hand of reconciliation to India only to be spurned when he made peace overtures. “In an interview with Turkish news agency TRT World, according to his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, Khan again expressed his desire for talks with India. He said that even a Cold War was not in the interests of the two countries.” (The Hindustan Times Jan 08, 2019)

The one person who is squeezing Pulwama attack for all its worth for his election pitch is Prime Minister Modi. It is BJP exploiting the unfortunate and sad incident to the hilt.

War hysteria raised by India has threatened surgical strikes, cutting off of water supply and global isolation.

Saner heads need to prevail in India. This dangerous trend must not be exploited for political benefits. Pakistan has shown admirable restraint by not responding in like.

However, till Indian elections are over, sabre rattling by Modi’s government is expected to continue.

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