Under the Cover of Pathankot Episode?
By Sajjad Shaukat
In the aftermath of the terror attack at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot, on January 2, this year,
which resulted into the death of six militants and eight personal of the Indian security forces in a four day’s gunbattle, India has been pressurizing Pakistan by saying that secretary-level talks scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, 2016 will remain postponed.
While, Pakistan which wants to advance the peace process with India has offered its full cooperation in the probe of Pathonkot incident.
In this regard, on January 8, a high level meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was held in which chief of army staff and DG, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also participated. The meeting also discussed the Pathankot incident and expressed Pakistan’s condemnation. Reiterating commitment to cooperate with India to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism in the region, it was decided to remain in touch with the Indian government—expressed the goodwill generated by the recent high level contacts, the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process.
But, India is not serious in advancing Pak-India dialogue process, agreed upon between the two countries during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Pakistan. Under the cover of Pathankot episode, New Delhi wants to postpone the secretary-level parleys, as part of its delaying tactics in settling various issues with Islamabad.
However, first of all, various contradictions of Indian high officials show that India has itself orchestrated the episode of Pathankot assault. In this respect, Indian Intelligence agencies had already alerted security agencies about the possible terror group’s planning of the attack, after tracing the phone calls of the militants. Following the alert, Western Air Command chief Air Marshal SB Deo had reached Pathankot air base on the same day of night himself to take stock of security preparations. One day before, the terrorists had also hijacked the car of Indian Superintend of Police (SP), Gurdaspur, Salwinder Singh, which was used by them to reach the base. SP, his friend Rajesh Verma, and cook Madan Gopal were abducted and afterwards released.
Latest reports disclose that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been entrusted with the attack probe, is questioning the SP, his friend and cook, deliberately connecting him with Pakistan’s banned outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad and spy agency, ISI.
Earlier, without any investigation and evidence, since the first day of the incident, Indian media and top civil and military officials claimed that the attackers had arrived from Pakistani Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and had links with Jaish-e-Mohammad and ISI.
The fact is that none had crossed the highly secured border from the Pakistan side and Jaish-e-Muhammad had been banned by Pakistan several years ago. Quite contrarily, Indian and foreign media have disclosed that Pakistan-based Kashmir’s militant body United Jihad Council on January 4 claimed responsibility for the Pathankot airbase attack. Besides, why the SP, his friend and cook were spared by the terrorists, proving them an opportunity to alert the senior authorities about the plot. How could the terrorists still penetrate the air base when some 200 commandoes had been airlifted to the base on January 1 and the base security was fully alert? As regards the number of the terrorists, New Delhi started from four and by adding one each day, reached the figure of 11.
Meanwhile, during queries of media persons, Indian home minister could not give appropriate replies to all these contradictory developments.
In fact, like other past episodes, Indian intelligence agencies, especially RAW have themselves arranged terror attacks at the Pathankot airbase to fulfil a number of anti-Pakistan designs.
As regards the case of cross-border terrorism, India has shown ambivalent approach which can be judged from some other developments. In this connection, on July 27, 2015, three gunmen dressed in army uniforms killed at least seven people, including three civilians and four policemen in the Indian district of Gurdaspur, Punjab. Without any investigation, Indian high officials and media started accusing Pakistan, its banned militant outfits and intelligence agencies for the Gurdaspur incident. Indian Police remarked that the attackers were from Indian-held Kashmir, and some said that they were Sikh separatists, while Indian Punjab police chief claimed that the three gunmen were Muslim, but as yet unidentified. Contradicting speculations, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that the gunmen came from Pakistan.
Khalistan Movement Chief Manmohan Singh stated that the Gurdaspur incident is “a conspiracy of Indian secret agency RAW to defame Pakistan.”
Notably, on December 31, 2014, prior to the US President Obama’s second visit to New Delhi, Indian intelligence agencies orchestrated a boat drama to defame Pakistan, allegedly reporting that a Pakistani fishing boat as a Pakistan-based outfit group Lashkar-e-Taiba was intercepted by Indian Coast Guards, off the coast of Porebandar, Gujarat. And Indian Coast Guard crew set the boat on fire and it exploded. The Indian government had claimed that it had foiled another 26/11-type attack of Mumbai. But, its reality exposed Indian terrorism, when some Indian high officials admitted that there was no such boat which came from Pakistan.
In case of the Mumbai terror attacks of November 26, 2008 and assault of the Indian parliament of December 13, 2001, without any enquiry, Indian high officials and media had started deliberate blame game against Pakistan by alleging that Mujahideen and the banned Lashkar-e-Tayba based in Pakistan and ISI were behind those terror events.
It is of particular attention that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
Nonetheless, it clearly proves that under the cover of the orchestrated Pathonkot episode, India wanted to postpone the secretary-level dialogue, while shifting the the blame game to Pakistan, as New Delhi is non-serious in resolving all disputes, especially Kashmir issue with Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations