In the wake of the dastardly Pulwama attack carried out on 14th of February 2019 by the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed on the CRPF convoy, India vowed to retaliate against the butchers of the Indian para-military forces.
India retaliated conducting pre-dawn air strikes on 26th February 2019 bombarding the training camps and communication camps of terror groups situated in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir ( PoK ), especially the Jaish-e-Mohammed as it claimed responsibility for the attack.
The biggest casualty of the strikes was the Balakot terror training camp situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan spread over an area of 6 acres which housed more than 300 terror recruits. Terror camps situated at Muzaffarabad and Chakoti in Pakistan occupied Kashmir were also targeted.
In the aftermath of the attack, which caught Pakistan off guard and terror camps on Pakistani soil were destroyed the diplomatic response and military statements leave the world quite baffled.
Just as after the surgical strikes that took place after the Uri Army camp was targeted by Pakistan based terrorists were denied by the Pakistani establishment, a similar approach was initially taken by them after the Jaish terror camps were hit by the payloads dropped by the Indian Air Force.
Hours later after news of the air strikes went across television channels across the length and breadth of India was when Pakistan reluctantly accepted that the IAF violated Pakistani airspace by going across the LoC (Line of Control) and we had the DG ISPR tweet on his official Twitter handle that Indian planes hastily dropped their payloads after effective response from the Pakistani Air Force.
Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles.Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow.— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
With more information trickling in as the day progressed the Pakistani response too was being tailored according to change in the situation. After the Foreign Secretary of India issued a statement that the air strikes carried out by India were a non-military pre-emptive action based on intelligence inputs, a tone of belligerence was seeping into the Pakistani response.
A while later when the number of casualties inflicted by the Indian Air Force on the terrorists, bugles for retaliation were being blown in Pakistan. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement to the press informed that as there was a violation of airspace by the Indian Air Force, Pakistan reserved the right to retaliate at a time of its choosing.
By the time the sun set down on the day and the world was informed of the punitive strikes carried out to defend the country from external threats the Pakistani armed forces violated ceasefire along the LoC targeting civilian areas on the Indian side opening fire in 12 – 15 places using heavy artillery, mortars and anti-tank guided missiles.
While there was firing going on across the porous border, the Pakistani government called a press conference chaired by its Foreign Minister. It was also attended by the Defence Minister and the Army Spokesperson. The statements made by the Defence Minister on a question on how the Indian planes were able to enter so deep into their territory turned the presser into a joke.
To quote him, ‘the air force was ready to take requisite action but could not do so because it was dark’. Making a statement that the F-16s of the Pakistani Air Force was unable to combat Indian Mirage 2000s because it was dark exposes the capability of the fighter pilots of the PAF.
Amidst all this commotion, the Prime Minister of Pakistan came out with a video denying the role of Pakistani based terrorists in an attack in Pulwama. He went on to offer platitudes asking why Pakistan would carry out such attacks and regurgitating the fact that Pakistan too was a victim of terrorism.
But Mr Prime Minister failed to acknowledge the death of 40 Indian soldiers and he also conveniently forgot that his army was targeting civilian areas across the LoC on the Indian. For a country that claims itself to too be a victim of terrorism and puts out the fact that 70,000 of its people have laid down their lives combating terrorism I would like to ask one pertinent question, why do you still keep sheltering terrorists?
The Pakistani response to the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on the Jaish terror camps exposes their hypocrisy and lack of intent to counter terrorism. While the terrorist organisation immediately took responsibility for the cowardly deed carried out by them, the Pakistani establishment kept denying the role of terrorists from Pakistan.
If that is not enough an example, let us hark back in time to Mumbai in 2008. The terror attacks on November 26, 2008, known as the 26/11 attacks were perpetrated by the Lashkar-e-Toiba headed by Hafiz Saeed who is today an important political figure in Pakistan. A decade has gone by, yet Pakistan still keeps asking for clinching evidence to put him behind bars even though the Indian government has sent dozens of dossiers in response.
If we go back in time a little bit more to 2001 the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Back then the Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden carried out the attacks. At the time of his death, he was found by the US Navy SEALs in a fortified complex a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad. It is said that the Pakistani state had no idea that a UN designated was residing so close to their military installation. If they did not know about it, it is an abject failure of their intelligence machinery. If they did, they were complicit in shielding him from the world.
Coming back to the present, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Pulwama had told the nation that the sacrifice of the slain soldiers would not go in vain. In response, the Pakistani army shifted the terrorists from the launch pads along the LoC deep inside their territory expecting a reprisal of the surgical strikes after Uri. They also took control of the Jaish-e-Mohammed headquarters situated in Bahawalpur to fortify it from any attack.
In the wake of the air strikes carried out as a punitive measure against Jaish terrorists from carrying out more attacks such as in Pulwama, Pakistan put into action its air force against Indian military installations while its Prime Minister was trying to gain brownie points by portraying himself as a messenger of peace.
The actions of the Pakistani armed forces and statements from its civilian government raise doubts about their sincerity in combating terrorism. Why is a country which continually reminds the world of sacrifices it made in its fight against terrorism when cornered on its ability to tackle the menace, try to provoke by promising retaliation on a country which has helped it by attacking terror bases?
Why does the Pakistani army violate ceasefire across the LoC and its air force try to attack military assets of India while India has only attacked terror bases? Has it unconsciously let slip of the mask of its façade and accept that the terrorists are an extension of their army and a tool of its foreign policy? This was earlier talked of in hushed tones in power corridors but Pakistan seems hell-bent on convincing the world of its assumption as a terror state.