The decline in ceasefire violations is perhaps the best thing that has happened in the last five months!
The people staying on the LOC/IB were in a dangerous line of fire, odds were they would be under my knife forever, often. Indian Army always wanted their Pakistani counterparts to understand one thing very clearly: No matter what they do or say or plot, no matter how they come down on us, we will never, ever harm you. But if you mess with us then trust us you are in a very serious problem and the same happened. In recent times it was Pakistan that began the bullet and bomb melee and then the retaliation came as a hulk smash. If locals got injured here then on the other side of the LOC the same was happening because bullets and splinters have no eyes and know no friends. If Indian troops got wounded and fatalities were caused then on the other side the bunkers were being splattered and Pak troops were being killed. This had to stop and Pak Generals did show a semblance of sanity and decided to hold fire. Indian Generals were more than happy but wary and the reasons were obvious. Though the ceasefire is maintained itself but the other noxious activities are continuing. But one thing is certain the locals on both sides are loving the silent peaceful nights unlike the yester years when they were forced to run for cover at any given time’
‘The way things are going on the whole thing looks very positive as the borders and the LOC are silent though six times some sort of activity did happen. The number of ceasefire violations (CFVs) in Kashmir had sharply increased in recent years, and even more dramatically since 2017.1 India and Pakistan have not fought each other openly since the 1999 Kargil conflict and have oscillated between military tension and peace talks, but the growing number of violations since 2013 threatened to push the countries back to the dangerous posturing of the late 1990s and early 2000s. But that did not happen and both the militaries decided to silence their guns. Whatever happened behind the scenes is a different matter of fact, the people are are not in anyway concerned as to why and how it happened, their only belief as of now is that the same should continue (a general feeling amongst the people on both sides of the LOC/IB) because the things had stretched a bit too far and their life had become miserable’!
The cease fire violations are generally not planned, directed, or cleared by higher military commands or political establishments, but are instead driven by the dynamics on the frontlines. But still politics does play an important role for example after the 2003 agreement between Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the conditions and consequences of the 2003 agreement evinced the importance of political factors in CFV numbers. CFVs dropped dramatically and this was all through a determined political move. In response to Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s stipulated conditions for peace talks, Musharraf put a stop to cross-border infiltrations which were clearly responsible for a large number of ceasefire violations in the 1990s.
As far as the violations on the LOC the fact is that it is Pakistan who starts it first all the time. In the 1900’s restraint was the word that dictated the local company commanders but now it’s not the case. Though the matters were taken up in flag meetings yet it were the Pakistani troops were on the trigger first and our people on the LOC used to be under the pump. India akways has asserted that terrorist infiltration from Pakistan is the primary cause for CFVs, because gunfire diverts the army’s attention from Islamists entering India. While Pakistanis believe that this had been a strategy of the security establishment in the recent past, the flow of jihadists has drastically diminished since the early 2000s. According to Indian data, more than 1,000 jihadists a year attempted to cross the border in 2001 and 2002. But by the time CFVs began intensifying again, in 2014, there were only 221 or 222 attempted infiltrations.34 This reduction is, in part, due to India’s construction of an electric border fence (which remains incomplete),35 as well as the Pakistani army’s decision to concentrate more on the border with Afghanistan. Yet infiltrations are still part of the story.
But now there is a lull on the LOC/IB though Pak terror network is intact and sporadic bids to infiltration continue. Now it is the drone swarms that are worrying the Army and BSF on the borders and the security forces in the hinterland.
‘Sometimes, God doesn’t send you into a battle to win it; he sends you to end it. That is what the Indian Army has done so far ever since the inception of Pakistan and that is the only reality that has surfaced as and when Pakistan had decided to go ballistic but violation of ceasefires was a war of different kind’
It was in the 1990s when women in Neelam valley POK) on the other side of the LOC protested and their demand was to put an end to infiltration and the return of peace to their homes. Interestingly, similar movements have started again in 2013–2014, with dozens of women from Leepa Valley (The Leepa Valley is an arable valley situated in the Hattian Bala District of Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan) marching up to the CO, the commanding officer in the area. Their demand from the army is simply to stop mortar shelling and stop the Mujahideen. But the army doesn’t take responsibility. They said the mujahideen hide from them and cross over. Of course, the army has helped control the mujahideen to some extent too. They pressured them to stop after the 2003 ceasefire and that’s why the firing halted. But today, they tell us the infiltration is no longer happening and we see it as a lie. After magrib (sunset), we see their vehicles. Infiltrations depend on the strategy of the Pakistani establishment, as evident from their cutoff in 2003. If the infiltrations were stopped in 2003 by the Pakistani establishment, they may have resumed ten years later because the Pakistani army no longer wanted peace. Did it ever?
Names such as Khurshid Kasuri Riaz Khokar and Pervez Musharraf Nawaz Sharief Benazir Bhutto and a host of others all sounded positive and apparently looked good but had hideous snakes hiding in their hearts. The problem with Pakistan is that it starts everything, meanders along with added catalysts, uses them like soft beverages and when the steam fizzles out just casts them aside to search for new ones. Parallel to the elaborate choreography of border ceremonies carried out by Indian and Pakistani armies at the Wagah-Attari border post, where the colorful lowering of the flag has been practiced in tandem by both armies since 1959, there are rituals of escalation and de-escalation along the LoC too. But it’s great that the things have calmed down so that the silence is maintained. For the moment it looks good but not so!
I will tell you a small little incident of the nineties when the blizzard was blowing hot and cold and Pakistani propaganda machinery across the LOC was blazing out its throat from the extra audible loudspeakers and echoing through the hills. I did understand that the vocals were coming from the other side and things were happening here. Such was the powerful discourse, in fact matchless and the people were ever ready to go to Nakial (POK) perhaps for a visit to enjoy the Pak hospitality. That was a betrayal of sorts. I knew it the3n also and now also. Then also they used to fire at any given instance and they also used to. That afternoon our school kids were having their meals which we used to cook for seven kids (later they became fourteen). Sort of a break and for a change as our Langar Chefs are no less than anyone. But that day Pak troops went berserk and I lost my patience. The kids were safe and what happened after that the NLI Battalion across knows the best. The reason was not vengeance, the simple reason was why fire at the school. I did not stop but I was told too, admonished also but no regrets. If someone hurts you, hurt him doubly in a face off’! This legacy has been spearheaded just too far by the men in the Olive Greens, ‘we never hurt innocents even if they are on the other side’. How the girls were treated at that time I have a story to tell about a girl!
Please do read the Saturday Special Major’s diary, ‘the story of a fairy whose wings were cut’!
Fine the LOC is in a lull mode but for six instances but the fact remains that the terror goes on. I will still say, never trust someone that claims they care nothing of what society thinks of them. Instead of conquering obstacles, they simply pretend they don’t exist. But people trusted them, just because they were Mujahideen? Terrible? They were coming from Pakistan, they had not learnt the scriptures but learned how to kill. Any Kashmiri who talked sense was to hit the graveyard. They too talked sense? Who was the traitor, a man with a gun or the one who lay lifeless. Both were the same blood, human or Kashmiri it mattered less and in hospitals it mattered the technical efficacies that was proved right. Even a dead right extreme thinking man was given blood. No one from Pakistan did that! Obviously had to be our own man saying, ‘Bacha Do, Dekhenge’!
Trustful people are pure at heart, as they are moved by the zeal of their own trustworthiness but unfortunately Pakistan does not carry this tag. Ceasefire violations are basically political issues. Political warfare is a different verbal game and on the LOC it is a barrel fighting one but the people do say, ‘Thank God there are no shells walling on her head and during work no bullets whizzing by!
People do more for their fellows than return favors and punish cheaters. They often perform generous acts without the slightest hope for payback ranging from leaving a tip in a restaurant they will never visit again to throwing themselves on a live grenade to save their brothers in arms. The best way to convince a skeptic that you are trustworthy and generous is to be trustworthy and generous. Did Pakistan ever realize that? In a Nation of hopefuls everything becomes a history though it never becomes. Article 370 is a history so let us welcome history into the present. Ceasefire violations are of no value at all!
Top Generals of the world armies know about Von Clausewitz ‘On War’. I Think even Qamar Bajwa knows it. I think he is a Pak Army Chief. If now he has realized that things are going to get better he knows what he is doing! He as has craft as a squirrel if I understand and so far even after Five months he cannot be trusted?
‘People do more for their fellows than return favors and punish cheaters. They often perform generous acts without the slightest hope for payback ranging from leaving a tip in a restaurant they will never visit again to throwing themselves on a live grenade to save their brothers in arms or sending their children to school’.
Indian Army did that let Pak Army also do that! At least let the next generation play caroms instead of stones and bullets/splinters! And the ceasefire continues if it does!