An Open Letter to Pakistan’s DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director General Inter Services Public Relations. DG ISPR, Asif Ghafoor, is the Spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director General Inter Services Public Relations. DG ISPR, Asif Ghafoor, is the Spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces.

General Sahib,

While addressing the media after the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans, you had made a rather weird suggestion that it was not Pakistan but India which had masterminded this murderous attack. Thereafter you came out with an equally bizarre explanation that “Whenever there is supposed to be an important event in Pakistan, or the country is moving towards stability, then there is always some sort of staged incident in either India or occupied Kashmir.” Whereas your hypothesis scores very high on the humour scale, it unfortunately rates abysmally low as far as its credibility quotient is concerned.

Presumably it was the fear that your wacky claim would be thrown out of the nearest window that made you devote so much time to cite past incidents in a bid to shore up your incredibly weak hypothesis. You want the world believe that besides the Pulwama incident, New Delhi had also masterminded the following attacks on its own people and your reasoning is indicative of such a fertile sense of imagination that deserves to be re-narrated.

According to You:–

  • The 2001 attack on Indian Parliament happened in December when UN General Assembly was in session and because Indian Presidential elections were to be held in 2002.
  • The 2008 Mumbai attacks took place because Pakistan Army’s “progress in the war on terror was quite good and at this time too, there were to be general elections in India from February to December.”
  • The 2016 Pathankot Airbase attack took place at a time when the US President was due to give his address to the State of Union. In addition, you maintain that this attack was orchestrated by New Delhi because “India was to see state elections and there were foreign secretary-level talks scheduled between India and Pakistan. That was scuttled.”
  • The 2016 Uri attack took place at a time when Pakistan Prime Minister “was set to go to the UNGA to deliver a speech.”

Sir, you would surely recall an old idiom from your school days which says ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Therefore, if your contention that New Delhi has been repeatedly cutting its own nose just to spite Islamabad’s face is true, then in keeping with the goose and gander idiom, is it not likely that Pakistan is also doing the same? A counter question to your allegations — Why do terrorist attacks in Pakistan always occur whenever Islamabad is facing flak from the international community for patronising terrorist groups or when some story fabricated by it is about to be exposed? To prove my point, I am mentioning just a few incidents that clearly point at your own army’s involvement in terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

In 2014, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists attacked the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar killing 149 students and teaching staff members. Former TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan who had publically taken responsibility for this attack purportedly ‘surrendered’ to the Pakistan Army in 2017, but even after a lapse of two years, the Pakistan Army has failed to even file a charge sheet against him. Compare this with the case of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav in which the Pakistan Army not only charge-sheeted but even sentenced him to death in just 12 months? Will the DG ISPR please clarify whether Pakistan Army’s laid-back attitude in bringing Ehsan to justice, even when the majority of the victims in the TTP attack were children of army men, part of some ‘secret deal’? Was the APS Peshawar attack masterminded by the Pakistan Army and executed by its ‘proxy’ just to conceal its selectivity in targeting terrorist groups during its much hyped war or terror (‘Operation Zarb-e- Azb’) as well as to gain international  sympathy and get more financial aid by presenting Pakistan as a ‘victim’ of terror?

Next, it’s no secret that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has taken a very serious view of Pakistan Army’s continued support to terrorist organisations fighting in India and Afghanistan, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adopted a hard stance on grant of financial assistance because of Islamabad’s self-destructive policy of indiscriminately seeking loans from all and sundry. We also know that both these international organisations are soon going to decide whether or not to assist Pakistan. In a seemingly hopeless situation, is it not likely that Islamabad had itself orchestrated the recent bomb blast targeting the Hazara community in Quetta just to escape landing up in the FATF ‘blacklist’ and being denied a financial package by IMF? May sound improbable, but if the Indian ‘goose’ can do an ‘Uri’ then why can’t the Pakistani ‘gander’ perpetuate the Quetta bomb blast?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has heard the final arguments of both India and Pakistan on the Jadhav case and its final verdict is expected any day now. Since Jadhav has been tried and awarded capital punishment by a military court which was presided over by officers with no formal education in law, the global community considers the whole trial process as nothing more than just a façade. By denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav, Pakistan has blatantly violated international conventions and further weakened its own position. As it knows that its case is extremely weak, it’s quite likely that the Pakistan Army intentionally staged the recent ‘execution type’ cold blooded murder of 14 bus passengers in Makaran area of Balochistan. By doing this Pakistan Army gave the Foreign Office a chance to repeat its unsubstantiated allegations that India is whipping up terrorism in Balochistan and by mentioning that Jadhav was arrested from this area three years ago, it has attempted to bolster its legally infirm case in ICJ.

You have made a host of insinuations about New Delhi staging attacks against its own people but since India has no past record of ever having sacrificed its citizens on the altar of expediency, your allegations have expectedly fallen flat. But my hypothesis of the Pakistan Army staging attacks against its own people just to demonize India is comparatively more convincing as it has a precedent. You must never forget that by refusing to claim the dead bodies of soldiers killed during the 1999 Kargil war, the Pakistan Army demonstrated to the world that it considers its soldiers to be both expendable and disposable. Hence, for an army that can disown its own dead soldiers without an iota of remorse to stage attacks against its own people is not only well within the realms of possibility but in all probability also true!

Yours etc,

Nilesh Kunwar

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