A webinar on the topic of ‘Pakistan Army’s Game Plan in J&K: India’s Response’ was organised by Kashmir Policy and Strategy Group (KPSG).
The event was moderated by noted jurist Ashok Bhan, Chairman of KPSG on 22 October 2020. The panelists included very well-known opinion makers from J&K, who have first-hand insight into Pakistan’s intent, design and ploy.
Germane to the webinar were two sub themes – Pakistan’s game plan to destabilize J&K and a comprehensive response to defeat Pakistan's motives.
Ashok Bhan in his opening remarks said that, on 22 October 1947, Pakistan invaded Kashmir and brought in its wake horrifying stories of mass plunder and vandalism, killing thousands of men, women and children mercilessly and thereafter on 26 October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession and acceded the state to India. Following the accession, troops were airlifted to Srinagar to repel the tribal invasion.
Bhan added that 1947 was in fact the beginning of the first Indo-Pak war. “Camouflaged as a tribal invasion, it was supported by the regular army troops of Pakistan,” Bhan said.
Bhan further said that the consequences of these watershed events are still affecting the country. “For the last 30 years,” he said, “the people are still facing proxy war.”
He emphasized upon the need of making people aware of the real enemy and to build a robust societal response to reject Pakistan and expose its nefarious design.
Speaking on the subject, Lt. Gen. G.S. Katoch (Retd) decoded Pakistani General Akbar Khan's J& K invasion plan that entailed use of hybrid forces i.e. Tribal Lashkars and Pakistan Army regular troops led by the Army officers. He underscored valiant efforts of State forces led by Brig Rajinder Singh and others, supported by the local population efforts to resist and impede Pakistan's invasion. “Nearly, a month before, Pakistan despite signing the standstill agreement put an economic blockade to the state,” he said.
He highlighted Pakistan’s earth-scotch policy to cause death and destruction in the state . The role of Indian Army and local population to save Kashmir was amply brought out .
While condemning the tribal Invasion of J&K in 1947, that brought mayhem and killings of natives, Prof. Javed Kakroo said that there are good stories too of saving the lives of other communities and local Muslims. He added that despite being a Muslim majority state, J&K acceded to India and Pakistan was rejected then and Kashmiris are rejecting it now. He emphatically brought out that majority of population in the state perceive Pakistan as a failed state and reject it as a stakeholder in peacebuilding or any future discourse .
Presenting her views on the subject, Dr. Manmeet Bali Nag said that Pakistan was formed with Islamic foundation while India maintained an all-inclusive religious position. “The tribal raid on J&K, unleashed by Pakistan, was steeped in shameless violation of ethics, fraud and unprecedented brutality,” she said.
Describing Pakistan’s role in the raid, she said Liaqat Ali Khan, Pak PM, held a meeting (12 September 1947) with military and civilian officials authorizing them to carry on with the twin plan of raising 20,000 tribal force to attack Kashmir from the north and armed the rebels in Poonch sector under “Operation Gulmarg”.
She added that based on this plan, the tribal bands attacked Muzaffarabad, moved eastward to capture Baramulla with some of them reaching the outskirts of Srinagar.
While referring to Sardar Ibrahim, a pro-Pak landlord from Poonch, she said, that he announced the formation of so called Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government at Palandari, with himself as its head.
Describing horrific role of tribals, she said that they plundered the state armory, set markets on fire and looted their goods. She gave a chilling account of how Hindus, Sikhs and even dissenting Muslims were killed in cold blood by the Lashkars in Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Baramulla.
Manzoor Ahmed Shah, Advocate, UK Supreme Court, countering Pak narrative in Kashmir, said that the proxy war began in 1947 and still continues unabated.
He said that Pakistan has failed to unite the Muslims and that the two nation theory has failed completely. He moved on to say that Pakistan breached the standstill agreement and failed to understand the reality. He said that people have seen current political instability and urged the need to explain the situation to Pakistani people to rise and explain their political leaders and Army that anti-India rhetoric cannot continue for long. On the other hand, Kashmiris should understand that India is their future.
While encapsulating the discussions of panelists, Dr. Q.A. Aashob said that Pakistan has lived in historical dilemma since its beginning and still continues to do so. He said that Kashmir conflict was a necessity for the survival of Pakistan’s Establishment. He urged the need for a proper political space and process for Kashmiri people in democratic polity.
Junaid Mir, a young Kashmiri social activist, speaking on leading a procession (22 October 2020) to UN Office in Kashmir said that a Black Day was observed in Kashmir for the first time in 70 years against the tribal invasion of Pakistan in 1947. He said that people are at an important point from where they can reverse the situation into a peaceful and prosperous future. He also spoke about the war crime memorandum presented to the UN Office in Kashmir on 22 October 2020 against Pakistan.
Sunil Wattal an entrepreneur said Kashmiri business community see India as a great business opportunity and expect a package to overcome Covid pandemic difficulties.
Concluding the Webinar, Maj Gen. (Retd.) B. K. Sharma, Director USI, said that there is no denying the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have undergone trials and tribulations. He urged that the people of Kashmir should introspect and realize that Pakistan is the real cause of conflict and violence. He said both Pakistan and China are in the illegal occupation of our territory and harbour a collusive design to keep the state destabilized. He elucidated Pakistan's post Article 370 Kashmir game plan. He said that Indian Army was more than capable to deal with the kinetic form of cross-border terrorism.
“However, there was a need to further revamp non-kinetic strategy to counter Pakistan’s narrative. The people should be the center of gravity for building sustainable peace and security in Kashmir. No effort should be spared to weed out terrorists but at the same time an all government approach, incorporating local population, should be adopted to usher in development and good governance,” he said.
KPSG said that the webinar received wide response from all over the world.