Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Unceremoniously Rogue Paki Army

Shaheen is a typical Army wife, waiting for her husband to return home from the front. She is a Pakistani. But she will never know if her husband, a Major in Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry Regiment, read her letter.

Because the Major's bosses in Islamabad will not tell her that he had led a column which had intruded into the Batalik sub-sector; that he had been killed by Indian troops some time last week; and that they had refused to take back his body.

The letter, written in impeccable English, was found among several documents and 14 bodies of Pakistani intruders inside a bunker somewhere in the Batalik area last week. The intruders had been killed in a hand-to-hand gun battle. And the Major was one of them.

A senior officer in Army HQ in Delhi says when troop sreached the bunker, they found the 14 dead men, unshaven, dressed in salwar and kameez, and "almost resembling any other militant". Then they found Shaheen's letter, ration registers, attendance registers, books, one which showed that someone was preparing for Pakistan Army's Staff College examinations -- all of which has confirmed that the dead men were Pakistani soldiers.

"When we pointed this out to the Pakistanis and asked them to take back the bodies, they refused point blank. This includes the response from their DGMO during his weekly chat with our DGMO," says the senior officer. "So it was up to us to bury the dead. Every soldier, even from the enemy side, deserves this honour."

Pakistan's Army wives wait in vain by Joy Purkayastha
8 July 1999

The Pakistan authorities have adamantly refused to acknowledge the involvement of Pakistan Army regulars in the misadventure in Kargil. The callousness and inhumanity with which they are persisting in this fiction is demonstrated in the current matter concerning the bodies of two officers of the Pakistan Army who had died in action on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kargil. The body of Capt. Imtiaz Malik of 165 Mortar Regiment was found at Point 4875 in the Mushkoh sub-sector. The body of Capt. Karnal Sher of 12 Northern Light Infantry was found on Tiger Hill in the Dras sub-sector. The identities of these two officers were established by correspondence found on their person. Both bodies are in possession of the Indian Army authorities.

Press release issued in New Delhi regarding bodies of two Pakistan Army Officers
15 July 1999

So far, soldiers have buried the bodies of 197 intruders, Col. Singh said. Religious rites were also performed for 47 other bodies found rotting in shallow pits. Three bodies were handed over to Pakistani authorities last month and two others were still in a mortuary in New Delhi after Islamabad refused to accept bodies of the fighters, he said.

India extends Kashmir pullout deadline
16 July 1999

On Thursday the Indian army held Muslim funeral rites for seven of the Pakistani dead on a Himalayan peak above the town of Dras known only by its coordinates on a map: Point 4875.

The bodies were draped in Pakistani flags, sprayed with perfume, and lowered into a mass grave. "We know how to respect a soldier who has laid down his life in combat, be it the enemy, be it the soldier who has been fighting my men in battle," said Lieutenant-Colonel YK Joshi.

Pakistan and India play war game with the dead by Suzanne Goldenberg
17 July 1999

The resentment now developing in Baltistan and Gilgit, known as the 'Northern Areas,' came into focus following the Kargil conflict. Many Indians were shocked when the Pakistan army refused to accept the bodies of over 250 soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry, who are from Gilgit and Baltistan. Reports from Pakistan indicate that apart from this callous behavior, the Pakistan army high command sent back the bodies of over 500 of their war dead to their homes in the Northern Areas surreptitiously at night, at the height of the conflict in June 1999. These bodies were brought back and buried, without any military honours, in the civilian attire that NLI soldiers had been ordered to wear at the height of Kargil.

Autonomy, Pakistan style by G Parthasarthy

"It is not just the defeats that have shattered their morale, which is understandable," said the officer, "but also the refusal to accept the bodies of the dead soldiers and carry out the final rites and give them an honourable military burial."

The officer pointed out that the refusal to accept the dead bodies to deny culpability in the Kargil conflict has upset the soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry, who are from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"Let us be very honest. If the bodies were of the Pakistan Punjabi soldiers, there is no way that Islamabad would have even dared to refuse to bring back the bodies. The only reason it really does not care is because the soldiers are Pakistani Kashmiris, from Gilgit and Baltistan, people from which areas are even denied the basic rights in Pakistan," said the officer.

The officer said it was the Indian media's fault that it did not highlight how the Punjabis discriminated against the Kashmiris in Pakistan. He said this would expose the hypocrisy of Pakistan, which was forever tom-tomming about how Kashmiris were suffering in India.

"This war has clearly indicated how the Pakistani Punjabi just does not care for the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. While the Balti soldiers were sent into battle, the Punjabi officers stayed back in the comfort of the base camps. When the tide turned against them, the soldiers were left to fend for themselves, often without adequate supplies. And now, the Pakistani government is not even decent enough to take back the bodies," he said.

Indian army to resume operations in Mushkoh valley by Amberish K Diwanji

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ruler's Games

"Since 1977 (that is, after the deposition of Mr. Z. A. Bhutto) there has been a frank discussion on the 1965 War in Pakistan by writers and those who were directly connected with the war. Among them were Gen. Musa, who was the Army Chief then, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Air Marshal Nur Khan, who commanded Pakistan's Air Force one after the other, Mr. Altaf Gaudar, who was the powerful information secretary then, and Gen. Yahya Khan, who was in charge of the Chhamb sector. All these writers have made points which show that invaders were sent into Kashmir under what Ayub's coterie called 'Opertion Gibraltar', not for the 'liberation' of Kashmiris but for strengthening the position of Gen. Ayub Khan, who was reportedly toying with the idea of either becoming the President for life or the Shah of Pakistan."

p108-109, My life and times by Sayyid Mīr Qāsim

1965 Truth

"I have given serious consideration to writing a book, but given up the idea. The book would be the truth. And the truth and the popular reaction to it would be good for my ego. But in the long run it would be an unpatriotic act. It will destroy the morale of the army, lower its prestige amoung the people, be banned in Pakistan, and become a textbook for the Indians.

I have little doubt that the Indians will never forgive us the slight of 65 and will avenge it at the first opportunity. I am certain they will hit us in E. Pak [East Pakistan] and we will need all we have to save the situation. The first day of Grand Slam will be fateful in many ways. The worst has still to come and we have to prepare for it. The book is therefore out.", General Akthar Hussain Malik in a letter to his younger brother Lieutenant General Abdul Ali Malik, dated 23 Nov 1967.

p49-50, Pakistan's drift into extremism: Allah, the army, and America's war on terror by Hassan Abbas

1965 Cover-up

General K. M. Arif [former Vice Chief of Army Staff] in Khaki Shadows writes that in the immediate aftermath of the 1965 War “Pakistan suffered a loss of a different kind…Soon after the War the GHQ ordered all the formations and units of the Pakistan Army to destroy their respective war diaries and submit completed reports to this effect by a given date. This was done? Their [the war diaries'] destruction, a self-inflicted injury and an irreparable national loss, was intellectual suicide.”

Clearly, the political-military nexus had an interest in ensuring that nobody should find out what actually happened during the 1965 War — the former because of its incompetence and lack of leadership and the latter because of its culpability in taking Pakistan to war.

1965 War: A Different Legacy by Dr. Athar Osama
6 September 2007

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Candid Confession

The threat from the militants, the former intelligence officials warned, is one that Pakistan is unable to contain. "We could not control them," said one former senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We indoctrinated them and told them, 'You will go to heaven.' You cannot turn it around so suddenly."

Militant groups slip from Pakistan's control by Carlotta Gall and David Rohde
15 January 2008

The Weasel Paki Army

"None of us wants war with India," says one officer. "It is very damaging for Pakistan's economy, and we feel it will be difficult to sustain." A soldier adds: "The capture of these mountains has given us extra advantage, but I doubt that the Indians will forget this."

Not many of the men expect to come down from the mountains alive. At base camp in Skardu, 150 km from the frontline, phone-booth attendant Yawar Shah says the men weep when they call home to bid good-bye to their families. "You can see them crying in the cubicles," he says. "It is very sad."

Under Cover of Night by Ghulam Hasnain

The Wrong War - 1965

“The performance of the Army did not match that of the PAF mainly because the army leadership was not as professional. They had planned ‘Operation Gibraltar’ for self-glory rather than in the national interest. It was a wrong war. And they misled the nation with a big lie that India rather than Pakistan had provoked the war and that we were the victims of Indian aggression.” , Pakistan’s ex-air chief, Air Marshal (Retd) Nur Khan.

Lessons of the 1965 war - Daily Times, Pakistan
07 September 2005