BY SULTAN M HALI
India’s many frustrations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a penchant for distorting history. While addressing the annual budget session in Parliament on 7 February 2018, Modi severely criticised the opposition party, the Indian National Congress. Modi went to the extent of claiming that after independence, Mahatma Gandhi had wanted the dissolution of the Congress Party. He declared that partition of India had occurred owing to wrong policies of Congress.
Modi also made a preposterous statement that India would have had gained control over entire Kashmir if instead of Mr Jawaharlal Nehru Sardar Vallabhai Patel had been the prime minister at the time of partition. Little wonder then that Narendra Modi has bent backwards to ensure that Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is amalgamated into India while he is also eying occupying Azad Jammu Kashmir. Modi assumed the mantle of prime minister with a dark and heinous plot regarding Kashmir. He tried to manipulate the 2014 elections in IOK so that BJP could get maximum seats to form the government. That would have paved the way for repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which provides special status to IOK. This would have removed the hurdle of annexing IOK into India. Modi’s election plan 44 Plus (gaining more than 44 seats in the IOK legislative assembly) backfired. Next he has started a program of resettling Hindus in IOK so that the demography changes and from a majority the Muslims there are turned into a minority so that if ever a plebiscite as promised by UN Security Council does take place the majority Hindus of IOK will vote for joining India instead of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, to browbeat the Muslims of IOK, on 8 July 2016, popular Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani was brutally killed. This move by Modi also backfired, since instead of being subdued, Kashmiri youth turned out in droves to protest the slaughter of their beloved leader. To suppress the open rebellion, Indian armed forces have been using pellet guns to fire at the protesters. Resultantly, over 500 Kashmiri youth have been martyred, while according to The Guardian of UK, more than 3,500 Kashmiri children have lost their eyesight permanently owing to the slugs of the pellet guns fired at their eyes deliberately. Indian army has even resorted to using human shields by tying innocent Kashmiri youth to the bonnet of the jeeps and parading them through the streets of Sri Nagar.
Draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) have empowered the Indian security forces to enter the houses of Kashmiris without warrants, kill the men, rape the women and loot their premises without fear of legal action.
Modi’s regime is brutally targeting Indian minorities but he has the temerity to claim that “Not a single day has passed when country has not suffered due to poison sowed by Congress.” International academics, litterateurs and thinkers like Noam Chomsky have sent writ petitions to Modi to end the brutalisation of Indian minorities.
Taking a cue from the jingoism of their prime minister, Narendra Modi’s tin soldiers also continually fire broadsides at Pakistan. India’s air chief gave a statement that he knew the location of terror training camps in Pakistan and he could launch surgical strikes to decimate them. Indian air force has forgotten the bitter lesson when in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, a pair of IAF Sukhois flew probe missions into Pakistani territory. They were intercepted by PAF F-16s, who took their pictures and informed India that next time instead of just photographing them; they will be blown into smithereens.
Indian army chief has dared Pakistan to use its nuclear weapons because he intends to expose Pakistan’s bluff. It is extremely irresponsible of General Bipin Rawat to issue such belligerent statements, which can put the entire region into peril.
Attention of the readers is drawn to an article, which was published on Indian news website “The Quartz” on 20 November 2017 titled “Inside Pakistan’s biggest business conglomerate: the Pakistan military.” The article is written by an Indian General Kamal Davar who through this article has made an attempt to damage the image of Pakistan armed forces for their involvement in business activities.
He totally disregarded Pakistan armed forces’ exemplary professionalism displayed in the ongoing war on terror that has been acknowledged the world over. Moreover, soldiery requires a young, energetic, physically fit and mentally alert individual to serve the challenging profession. As a result, the soldiers have to be retired at very early ages. The average retiring age of a soldier is 36 (alters slightly with rank), an age at which his civilian friends start their careers. What does life after military service would look like without a job in current hard economic conditions?
If a soldier retires at an average age of 36 years, can he only survive on pension in this challenging economic environment? Moreover, he at this age is only trained for soldiery and cannot join any other profession as he has already crossed the age of induction to various careers.
In the absence of government policy to rehabilitate veteran soldiers, armed forces themselves rose to the occasion by initiating welfare initiatives. Since all the business oriented activities being undertaken by Pakistan armed forces are purely for the welfare of serving and retired officers and soldiers and their families, hence they should be termed as “welfare initiatives and not business activities”.
These welfare oriented organization are mostly administered by the veterans under the umbrella of their parent services. Hence the arguments of the critics at home and abroad, are totally baseless that the “business activities are being undertaken by the armed forces”.
General Kamal Davar would be well advised to look inwards at the state of morale of the Indian army, where recruits have dwindled to a mere trickle, hardly anyone of the Indian youth are motivated to join the low paying life of a soldier, full of hardships. Desertions are at an all-time high while mental stress has caused Indian soldiers to either commit suicide or turn upon their officers, killing them. Another serious problem in the Indian army is the growing cases of rape. Female soldiers and officers have been subjected to physical molestation. Indian psychologists are racking their brains to resolve the rising cases of moral trepidation among the Indian army.