Electronic media apathy
Mohammad Jamil
1/18/2013

 

Indian army resorted to indiscriminate firing on Pakistani troops in Haji Pir Sector on Line of Control killing a Pakistani soldier Muhammad Aslam and injuring many others. This incident was not given adequate coverage by electronic media; print media, however, did a bit to expose Indian violation of Ceasefire agreement, and even wrote editorials. On Thursday, another Pakistan Army soldier, Havaldar Mohyuddin, embraced martyrdom as a result of unprovoked firing by Indian troops at Hotspring sector in Battal. After Sunday’s incident of attacking Pakistani troops, Indian military on Tuesday fabricated the story of an attack by Pakistani troops on an Indian military patrol across the LoC claiming that two Indian soldiers were killed in the assault, and one of them was beheaded. Indian media played up the incident, and in their talk shows Indian TV channels spew venom against Pakistan, but Pakistani electronic media did not adequately respond to Indian propaganda.

Unfortunately, a section of Pakistan’s intellectuals, journalists, analysts and members of so-called civil society overwhelmed by the slogan of aman ki asha downplayed the Indian violation of ceasefire agreement. Our electronic media showed repellent apathy, as it did not cover unprovoked Indian attack and a few channels continue displaying Indian content and interviews of film artists. Our political class also did not condemn in strong terms the violation of 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries across the Line of Control in Kashmir by Indian army. In blatant Indian incursions, two of our brave soldiers lost their precious lives while some others have sustained injuries. In India, on the contrary, the politicians started jingoism against Pakistan. And they are posing that violations are not being made by their own army but by the Pakistan army. The Indian media supported Indian government’s stance and feverishly engaged in creating hype among the Indian public. Anyhow, Indian government as well as opposition leaders in India are crying for revenge and demanding tough action against Pakistan.

Pakistan, however, registered its protest and demanded of India to abide by the ceasefire agreement strictly. Pakistan warned if India does not stop hostilities, it would approach the UN asking it to take action and put an end to India’s incursions. Our foreign office has urged the international community to persuade India not to ratchet up the tensions with its wild allegations. It also proposed a neutral probe of the last week’s ceasefire violations by the UN Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). This is indeed a sensible proposal, which is reflective of Pakistan’s desire to let the world know the truth. It is heartening to note that this time round international media have taken a serious view of the above incidents. On 6th January 2012, Reuters had reported that a Pakistani soldier was killed and another injured in a gunfight between Indian and Pakistani troops in Kashmir. Nobody mentioned about any death on Indian side. But India cried hoarse that Pakistan military had fired upon Indian position on LoC and killed Indian soldiers. But evidence belies India’s claim.

It is pertinent to quote Indian army spokesman Colonel Jagadish Dahiyat who said Indian troops had retaliated by firing on Pakistani troops, but he categorically stated “we have no casualties or injuries”. This statement knocks the bottom of Indian military’s pretence that Indian soldiers were killed in attack from Pakistani troops. Whereas one could see some positive change in Indian leadership’s attitude to resolve the issues festering both countries, but Indian military has been trying to impede the peace process despite the fact that Pakistan with all its sincerity, eagerness and sense of accommodation is poised to promote the idea of peace and normalcy. Both countries had recently agreed to ease visa regime to facilitate people from both sides, and Pakistan had expressed its willingness to give India the Most Favored Nation status. If India does not stop incursions, Pakistan would have to review about its decision to grant MFN status to India, and both countries would be back to the square one.

India for her part lifted the ban on foreign investment from Pakistan showcasing goodwill to achieve ultimate goal of establishing good neighborly relations with Pakistan. The decision, on its face value appears to have its merits as Pakistani citizens or any entity incorporated in Pakistan will be able to make investments in India in fields other than defence, space and atomic energy. India claimed to have taken a positive initiative to build trust and confidence between the two states with a view to finding a way forward to address conflicting issues and resolve disputes such as Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and water disputes. Pakistani business community has welcomed the move with the hope that trade diplomacy may result in benefits to both the countries in economic terms, and also help resolve disputes festering the two countries. The signs and symbols seem encouraging with optimistic tone and tenor. But given the past history of India’s ruses, there will remain a question mark on India’s credibility.

Pakistan recently gave some suggestions to India for the resolution of all disputes through negotiations. But Indian Army reiterated its stand on Siachen issue and cautioned the Indian government about the disadvantages of withdrawal from Siachen. The Indian military top brass reportedly refused to move its men or machines from Siachen glacier, ruling out possibility of any demilitarization of the area. Indian Army’s fresh assessment of the situation had come ahead of Indo-Pak talks on Siachen that were held 10-11 June 2012. Indian Army also rejected all Pakistani suggestions of demilitarization of Siachen glacier unless Pakistan agrees to Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) on the glacier. The death dharna The question is whether Indian military has become obstreperous and uncontrollable, and also has an upper hand in formulating even India’s foreign policy? There is a perception that Indian military establishment has been instrumental in stalling Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan so that both countries may not reach an agreement which will change the status quo at Siachen.