Simple Gesture Of Bajwa’s Magnanimity Might Not Be Enough

Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza
London, April 4 : The Directors General of Military Operations of both India and Pakistan took a bold decision in February to establish ceasefire across the Line of Control.Since then, it has been all quiet on the Kashmir front and the blazing guns have gone silent.

 Simple Gesture Of Bajwa’s Magnanimity Might Not Be

This demonstrates the willingness of Pakistani Army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, to sincerely refrain from any future cross-border firing, at least for now.

However, at this point in time, a ceasefire simply is not enough to promote mutual trust between India and Pakistan to a level where diplomatic level negotiations or international mediation could be rushed into.More practical measures need to be taken by the Pakistani Army chief to mend the trust deficit.

Currently, there are 13 military brigades stationed in Pakistani-occupied Jammu Kashmir alone – two of which were added only recently.

The whole occupied region is dotted with military check-points.All hospitals in the occupied territory of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are under the direct command of the Pakistani military.

The hydroelectric power projects in PoJK and PoGB are being guarded by the military as well and at least 6,000 Chinese personnel, who claim to be engineers and skilled labour, are stationed in PoJK alone.Last but not least, PoJK is dotted with jihadi terrorist training camps where local as well as Punjabi and Pashtun youth receive jihadi terrorist training including learning, among other skills, making of ‘sticky bombs’ and IEDs.

Hence, a simple gesture of Gen Bajwa’s “magnanimity” might not enough to convince the Indian public and the broader world community of the Pakistani military establishment’s sudden craving or sincere desire for regional peace.In order for the Pakistani military’s gesture to be taken seriously, it has to match its words with actions.

First and foremost, the Pakistani military has to begin unfailing withdrawal of anti-India rhetoric on domestic and international public forums.

Secondly, extension of a hand of peace, as General Bajwa said in his address to the Islamabad Security Dialogue seminar on March 18, needs to be reciprocated with an all- encompassing withdrawal of jihadist infrastructure including the training camps and launch pads dotted across PoJK and the Line of Control.

And finally, desire for peace cannot be conditional.

Gen Bajwa also said in his address of March 18 that it was time to “bury the past”.

Well, the past cannot be buried without the withdrawal of Pakistani troops and aliens from all Indian territories that have been occupied by her since October 22, 1947.

Hence, it is necessary for the Pakistani Army chief to admit the folly of the then military establishment of his country for attacking the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is rather crucial for Gen Bajwa to show his willingness to establish a truth and re-conciliation commission which would properly investigate the atrocities committed by the raiders of Kashmir against the civilian population of Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bhimber, Rajauri, Baramulla and other cities where thousands were massacred only because they did not share the same religious faith with the invaders.

The past cannot be buried unless investigations into Operations Gulmarg, Data Khel, Kargil War are conducted and unless an apology is officially issued by the state of Pakistan for breaching the peace of our region for the past 73 years.

Once Pakistan sheds its anti-India stance and sincerely recognises its wrong-doings only then could Gen Bajwa’s statements be taken seriously.Negative propaganda against India and time and again attempts made to stir unrest in the Vale of Kashmir has only helped to strengthen the resolve of the Indian nation but it has left Pakistan a divided and broken country.

Fanatical Jihadi narrative has eaten up Pakistan’s internal national homogeneity like a moth.It has sunk Pakistan into an economic crisis from which it seems impossible to pull out.China has not only made Pakistan a victim of her debt trap but has physically encroached its territory from Gilgit-Baltistan to Gwadar.

And now, the worst is happening as Pakistan is about to lose its control of the State Bank.

Today, IMF loans, especially the recent one released only this week of $500 million, come with the harshest conditions ever.According to the conditions laid down by the IMF, any money the Pakistan economy generates will first be used for repaying the loan and other IMF-related debts and interests.

This means that the Cabinet or even the Parliament cannot guarantee Pakistan’s sovereignty any longer.

Pakistan, slipping into negative growth, will soon find herself unable to pay the salaries of her soldiers and I would not be surprised one bit if Pakistan army starts issuing IOUs to its staff.

The insurgency in Baluchistan is steadily gaining momentum and seeing better coordination.Similarly, the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army has geared up its offensive against Pakistani law enforcing agencies, specially the Rangers which is, after all, a para-military force headed by an army general.

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is also becoming progressively vocal in its criticism of the role of the Pakistan military in killing and abducting innocent Pashtuns in South and North Waziristan.There is not a single day that go passes without protests, strikes and sit-ins in both PoJK and PoGB.

Finally, Punjab, which provides the bulk of recruits for the Pakistan military has witnessed a sharp rise in dissent.The Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of 9 political parties, has politicised the Punjabi urban lower and middle class to an extent that in case of any attempt of adventurism by the Pakistan army could push the country towards civil war.

In the final analysis, the Pakistani military leadership has good reason to extend hand of peace towards India and make an appeal to burying the past.Pakistan is in dire need of economic resuscitation.

The coffers of the state are nearly empty and what is available is already been pledged to those from whom Pakistan has borrowed money.

Political, Pakistan has become the most unstable country in the region and the state only continues to exist due to the patience of its people but which they are losing fast.

If, however, Pakistani military establishment fails to match its words with actions as suggested earlier in this write up, then it will only have to blame itself for the impending degeneration and finally, breakup of its state.

In a nut shell, when it comes to Pakistan’s aforementioned desire for regional peace and burying the past, she has to dismantle its terrorist infrastructure completely.

And last but not least, Pakistan must hand over those who have been responsible for carrying out attacks on Indian soil from Delhi to Mumbai and from Pathankot to Pulwama.

Past will be buried once Gen Bajwa musters up enough courage to take a leap of faith and disassociate himself and the Pakistan Army, as an institution, from all forms of saboteur norms designed to undermine India’s territorial sovereignty.

India hold no grudges against her neighbours or the wider world.She never has.The Indian nation is always willing to help their neighbours.However, when it comes to Pakistan, it is our neighbour who has to show that she is ready to change.

Therefore, just a simple gesture of magnanimity from Gen Bajwa might not enough.

( is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK.

He currently lives in exile in the UK