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

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