Yet another case of Pakistan army or its proxies, i.e., terrorists trained by it/sometimes operating with it, mutilating Sepoy Mandip Singh of Indian Army in the most sick, savage way on 28 October 2016, is nothing new. From the time Pakistan and its army came into existence in August 1947, the latter’s ethos underwent drastic changes. The same soldiers, who were part of undivided India’s army, which won great accolades in two world wars, became part of the newly apportioned Pakistan army, the first task of which was attacking India to try to grab Jammu and Kashmir. The major changes seen in this war were the mass use of proxies-the ‘Kabailis’ and large scale rape and pillage, all of which certainly was not by the ‘Kabailis’ only. They were being commanded and complemented by Pak army officers and soldiers respectively.
In the second and third Indo-Pak wars waged by Pakistan (1965 and 1971) there were a number of instances of Pak army personnel committing barbaric acts of mutilation, including severing genitals and forcing them into the mouths of Indian Army personnel unfortunate enough to be cornered by them. Before the 1971 war, Pak army raped a few hundred thousands of Bangla women in erstwhile East Pakistan-then still its own country. It also captured fifty four Indian Armed Forces personnel, who were not registered as prisoners of war (PsOW), who have been detained illegally to this day to languish in various prisons inPakistan, to avoid their detection/identification by their visiting next of kin and Red Cross teams. If killing by mutilation is one form of horrendous torture, this kind of detention is another. And compare this to Indian Army capturing 93,000 Pakistani armed forces personnel as PsOW in erstwhile East Pakistan, keeping them in healthy conditions in PsOW camps as per Geneva Conventions and repatriating them with a packet of sweets to each.
Having realised that India could not be beaten in conventional wars, Pakistan’s third dictator president, Gen Zia ul Haq devised a plan to “bleed India by a thousand cuts” and waged the fourth war against India by export of terrorists, which continues to date. During this war there have been many instances of Pakistani terrorists mutilating Indian Armed Forces personnel, which were not reported by the government of the day. In almost three decades of this war, during a greatly intensified phase in mid-1999 in the area around Kargil, Pak army personnel again committed heinous acts of barbaric mutilation against Indian officers, which were reported as was the last one on two Indian Army soldiers in 2013. The reason is a mix of frustration of defeat, cowardice and total lack of professionalism and leadership in the case of Pak army personnel and indoctrination in the case of terrorists.
In the Indian Army the Gorkhas are authorised to carry the ‘khukri’ (curved machete) and the Assam Regiment troops, the ‘dah’ (straight machete) as traditional side-arms. While soldiers of both these regiments wield these machetes with great dexterity, they have always only been used as last resort weapons in close quarter battle, after ammunition has been expended and never for savagery. How should an adversary respond to the loathsome acts like those mentioned about Pak army or their terrorist proxies? Literally an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth has never been the modus of Indian Army, as it would amount to stooping as low as an army of barbarians. Punishing the Pak military appears a viable option as evidenced by the prompt and punitive response to the 28 October mutilation of Sepoy Mandip Singh, with the Indian Army eradicating four Pakistani posts along the Line Of Control in Keran sector by a preponderance of fire power. In addition, India must publicise all of Pak army’s/its proxy’s barbarous acts widely, take them up with the International Court of Justice and relentlessly pursue the case till punishment is pronounced.
“We believe that Pakistan can directly contribute to regional stability by acting against militants on its soil who seek to attack its neighbours,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference. Whether Pakistan will take that much needed step is however doubtful. Meanwhile, Islamic State has sought to make inroads into the state, hoping to exploit the country’s growing sectarian divisions. The night attack of 24 October on a Pakistani police training academy in Quetta which killed over 60 people and injured over a hundred was claimed by the IS. Earlier, In August, the IS also claimed the attack on mourners gathered at a hospital in Quetta, which killed 70 people, though a Pakistani Taliban faction, Jamaat-urAhrar, also laid claim to the same. The military had dismissed previous Islamic State claims of responsibility and last month said it had crushed the Middle East-based group’s attempt to expand in Pakistan. It also dismissed previous IS claims of responsibility as ‘propaganda’. But there is growing evidence that some local groups are working with IS. We need to monitor the situation carefully.