Indian obsession with Pakistani spies
S M Hali
Indian military officer.
According to India Today of 2 February 2018, an Indian Air Force Group Captain was arrested on the charges of being honey trapped and spying for Pakistan. India even captured an allegedly spy balloon and has now reportedly moved on to “spy fruits”- the latest technology from “Apple Inc”.
Indian obsession with Pakistani “spies” is so deep rooted that it is bordering on being delusional. On 28 October 2018, Indian media was in a state of frenzy reporting that it had captured two Pakistani spies infiltrating into Indian Territory at Ferozepur Sector. Entire India went berserk, gloating over the arrest of the alleged spies but no sane Indian would stop to ponder over the probability that it was a comedy of errors.
Take the India Today story of 30 October, titled ‘ID Cards of arrested Pakistanis say they are Pakistan Army Jawans’. Manjeet Sehgal from Chandigarh reports, “The Border Security Force (BSF) arrested two Pakistani citizens believed to be ISI spies on October 28. The suspects were arrested in Ferozepur sector and have been identified as jawans of the 30 Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army. Identity cards were recovered from their possession. According to the identity cards, Siraj Ahmed, 31, son of Shaukat Hayat is a resident of Mansoor and Mumtaz Khan, 38, son of Iqbal Khan is a resident of district Attock. Siraj Ahmed is a constable and Mumtaz Khan is a head constable with the 30 Baloch Regiment. BSF sources, however, also suspect that the identity cards might be fake. The Indian security agencies are trying to find whether the arrested Pakistanis were army jawans, spies or drug smugglers. BSF has also recovered Pakistani currency worth Rs 4,000 and a smartphone from the suspected spies. According to sources, the suspects are being interrogated by the Indian security agencies in Amritsar.”
To start with why would Pakistan launch spies with identifications papers of its army, secondly since when did Pakistan Army start using the ranks of “constable” and “head constable”?
Ultimately Indian media had egg on its face when it embarrassedly reported that the Jawans were released after investigation as they were not spying and had inadvertently crossed over to the Indian Territory when they were cleaning the bunkers located on the Indo-Pak border.
According to India Today of 2 February 2018, an Indian Air Force Group Captain was arrested on the charges of being honey trapped and spying for Pakistan. India even captured an allegedly spy balloon and has now reportedly moved on to “spy fruits”- the latest technology from “Apple Inc”
Readers may recall that on 29 May 2015, BBC reported that a pigeon had been arrested by police in India on suspicion of being a spy from Pakistan. The bird was seized after being spotted carrying a “stamped message” on its body. The message was written partly in Urdu and also contained a Pakistani phone number, according to reports. The bird was discovered by a 14-year-old boy in the village of Manwal, around two miles from the border. He took it to the nearest police station where the bird was X-rayed. Although police confirmed nothing unusual was found they “have kept the bird in our custody”, according to one senior local officer. The bird has been logged as a “suspected spy” in the area’s official police diary.
On 11 June, 2018, Times of India reported that a Pakistani “spy” pigeon was nabbed in Ajnala town near Amritsar and was being x-rayed for espionage gadgets. In February 2017, the country claimed to have caught a “spy pigeon” it said came from Pakistan. The authorities later claimed it escaped to Pakistan due to police negligence.
Similarly, in May 2016, Indian authorities claimed that a pigeon they caught in Pathankot carried a message stamped in Urdu. Later that year, in October, police officials clipped the wings of a pigeon they caught in Bamial village with a similar message to prevent it from “escaping”.
In August 2015, Indian security forces had arrested a deranged person identified as Usman Khan aka Qasim aka Navaid who claimed he travelled for 12 days through the jungle with an accomplice and had been in India for two days to do ‘Gods work’.
Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) dismissed Indian allegations stating that Usman Khan is not Pakistani but the mainstream Indian media kept on beating their chests that they had nabbed a spy.
The obsession with espionage has permeated into Indian fiction writing as well as Bollywood. Bollywood production Raazi (Agree) is a 2018 Indian spy thriller film directed by MeghnaGulzar and produced by Vineet Jain, KiranJohar, HirooYashJohar and Apoorva Mehta. The movie is an adaptation of HarinderSikka’s 2008 novel Calling Sehmat, reportedly a true account of an Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent who, upon her father’s order, is married into a Pakistani family of military officials to relay information to India, prior to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. She allegedly informed India of Pakistan’s plans to sink its aircraft carrier INS Viraat and saved it. She returned to India pregnant after Kargil and her son is now an
The writer is a retired Group Captain of PAF. He is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host, who has authored six books on current affairs, including three on China