Babar Iftikhar, the newly crowned spokesperson of Pakistan Army has taken upon himself to mop up international sympathy after his chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Pakistan’s ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi failed miserably to drum up support. And what better way to start than target India and spread canards about Kashmir.
In a recent interview to a Pakistani television channel, Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar went on harping that India is planning a false flag operation to divert attention from its ‘domestic issues’ and tide over ‘international embarrassments’, making direct reference to India’s face off with China in Ladakh. He then goes on and on, speaking his heart out to the eager news anchor, like a whining child.
Ironically, Babar Iftikhar’s comments provide a window about Pakistan Army’s frustration at not being able to drive its agenda in Kashmir. Pakistan’s recent failures in fomenting trouble in Kashmir has made its “powerful” army generals cut a sorry figure in front of their domestic population and hard line Islamic fanatics. Such is the pressure on Pakistani establishment to show something about Kashmir that the ‘selected’ PM Imran Khan Niazi and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa have both talked about India’s false flag operation at different forums, followed by Babar Iftikhar.
There’s a background to this bobbery.
Pakistan-trained terrorists are routinely being hunted down by the Indian Army in Kashmir. Rawalpindi’s recent attempt to repeat a Pulwama type terror attack was also foiled by India. And unlike earlier, terrorists killed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir are now not being handed over to their families, which has virtually rattled Babar Iftikhar, DG ISPR (Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations).
Rawalpindi understands quite well that every terrorist who picks up gun in Kashmir has a limited shelf life and it doesn’t expect much from him, however, it does place bets on the terrorist’s death. It’s here that DG ISPR unleashes its fangs. Consider the cases of Burhan Wani, Zakir Musa, Sabzar Bhat etc. etc. None of these terrorists could make even a small dent in Kashmir while they were alive, yet they managed a larger-than-life picture only after their deaths. Their funerals were turned into photo opportunities, paid mourners gave video bytes amidst high-voltage emotional drama and DG ISPR plugged news stories about Kashmir’s unrest across the world.
Cut to 2020. India has stopped handing over the dead bodies of slain terrorists to their families and now buries them discreetly. This one act has rendered DG ISPR’s troll army jobless. Add to this the Pakistan Army’s failure in sneaking terrorists inside India and carry out a major terrorist operation. This effectively means they have hardly anything to sell to their captive audience in Pakistan who have been fed the story about Kashmir’s secession from India since 1947.
But then DG ISPR Babar Iftikhar has to justify his job and position! What else could he do other than reiterate a fictitious story that India is planning a false flag operation to target Pakistan? In effect, this narrative serves two purposes. One, it helps Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar to tell Pakistani audience that Pak Army is still on the driving seat in Kashmir, and two, all botched up terror operations foiled by India can be passed upon as a “false flag operation” and Pakistan Army can continue to deny its role in Kashmir’s terrorism at international forums.
Pakistan’s state of affairs can also be gauged from the fact that though Imran Khan Niazi — the ‘selected’ prime minister of Pakistan, sits in Islamabad yet the government is run by military generals sitting in Rawalpindi. For the last two years there has been an undeclared martial law. Democracy and governance continue to be a problem, military’s ‘selected’ puppets come and go but the real power continues to wrest in the hands of Generals, Brigadiers and the Colonels, who remain chairman and managing directors of major private and public organisations in Pakistan. And then Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar has the gall to talk about justice in Kashmir? Of course, his pain is understandable!
Pakistan is the only country in the world that has adopted Islamic terrorism as a state policy. The world knows how Osama bin Laden had been living in a safe sanctuary at Abbottabad when he was hunted down in an American commando operation. Even today, world’s most notorious terrorists such as Maulana Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim, Sayeed Salahudeen and Hafiz Saeed continue to live in safe havens within Pakistan.
The national character of Pakistan can be gauged from the fact that when every country was making efforts to secure its citizens from Coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan Army turned this pandemic into a biological weapon for the hapless population of Balochistan. Several viral videos on social media show how Islamabad let the pandemic spread in Balochistan and in areas of Kashmir illegally occupied by it—the POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir).
It appears that internally Pakistan is in a very bad shape and to skirt their responsibilities Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar made deliberate efforts to change the narrative within Pakistan. The few border issues that India has with China in Ladakh has been festering on for several decades and efforts are on to resolve them amicably. On the contrary, Pakistan is finding it tough to deal with freedom movements in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtunistan (Waziristan) and in Sindh.
DG ISPR’s false bravado of handling India’s military might is not going to cut ice as Pakistan Army has lost four wars with India.
India is a peace loving country and wants to have good relations with her neighbours. However, relations can’t progress as long as Pakistan does not shun terrorism and violence. It is Pakistan that had earlier launched a proxy war in Punjab and now in Kashmir, it’s Pakistan that initiated wars, intruded in Kargil, attacked Indian democracy (Parliament attack on December 13, 2001), orchestrated the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and the attack at Uri. The list of such terror attacks is very long. It is only after years of such terrorist acts that India responded with surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes.
Pakistani propaganda about ‘Islamophobia in India’ exists only on its fake social media handles. Pakistan must come out of its virtual world and start living in realities. Tweets and fake social media uploads cannot mitigate Pakistan’s precarious situation. The amount of money it uses to fund terrorist organizations and to run social media firms for fake propaganda, is colossal. It must be used for right purposes.