M. M Khajooria

The 2003 Indo-Pak Cease-fire  Agreement   which facilitated the erection of border  fencing along the IB and LoC in Jammu and Kashmir was easily the most significant Confidence Building Measure between the two  neighbours in a State of conflict since the dawn of independence. They had fought  three full scale wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and a mini-Kargil war on the “Kashmir dispute”. The Agreement reasonably held up to 2010 where after Pakistan escalated tension both on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International border ( IB). Its compulsion to do so emanated from the need to infiltrate terrorists to man the decimated leadership and reinforce cadres. Even otherwise the Kashmir pot had to be kept on the boil to ‘nurse’ international concerns. Beginning with 44 such  violations in 2010 it recorded 195 incidence of cease fire  violations in 2013.
The blue print for joint action by Pak Army and its terrorist assets in upgraded, focused and calibrated vicious strikes on the Indo-Pak borders as well as in the interior of Jammu and Kashmir regions  was settled in the terrorist conclave at Muzaffarabad in January-February 2013. Though convened by Mohd Yusuf alias Syed Salah ud din, chief of the Jihad Council, it was an ISI initiative in which Hafiz Syed also participated. It took  four significant decisions.;
1)All terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir will henceforth be co-ordinated (read Controlled)by Lashkar-e-Toyiba ‘However Salah -ud -din will continue to be projected as the chief.’
2)Hizb-ul Mujahideen  will own responsibility for all strikes to project the local character of the ‘Struggle for freedom’.
3) Border Action Teams (BATs)comprising of Pak Army/Rangers and Lashkar ‘Muhjahids’ would undertake well planned operations on the borders and well with in ‘Indian held territory’ with the objective of hurting the pride and prestige of the Indian Army and   causing physical, strategic and structural damage. Attacks on civilian targets were intended to cause harassment, destabilization  and demoralisation of  the population along the border there by provoking Indian response which would be projected as aggressive before the world community.
4. Hafiz Syed would be personally involved in conception, pre-strike mobilisation and BAT operations  lending  his  “enormous prestige and authority” to the mischief. The subsequent developments including sighting of Hafiz had in border belts prior to launch of BAT  operations established the authenticity of the intelligence inputs.
The escalation of cross border firing has to be viewed in the context of political and diplomatic initiatives by Pakistan. Let us begin with the visit to India by Prime Minister Nawaz Shrief to attend the oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Pak Army and extremist elements in polity of that country were opposed to the acceptance of Indian Prime Ministers’ invitation. Gen. Rahil Shrief was, however persuaded to fall in line which he did somewhat grudgingly. But no one in Pakistan was prepared for the manner in which Modi handled the event especially his meeting with the Pak Prime Minister. They were bewildered by the bonhomie between the two and personal rapport symbolised by exchange of gifts for each others’ mother. A shocked and “double crossed” Army High Command reacted by tasking their two eminent political assets, Cricketer turned politician Imran Khan and Canada based Cleric Qadri to take him on. The twin marches organised by Khan and Qadri besieged Prime Ministers’ official residence demanding his resignation. A feeble heared Nawaz Shrief turned to army for help, which came with a price tag to which he was not exactly averse. The script for the UN speech was handed over to him for reading in the United Nations General assembly. In the meantime guns began to boom on the IB and LoC in Jammu and Kashmir with a view to create the “right environment” for his  UN visit and bring ‘the Kashmir issue” into  focus.
The script handed down to Nawaz Shrief by Pak army which he dutifully read in the UNGA on 26th September, proved an unmitigated disaster. The  finality with which his plea for UN intervention in the “Kashmir dispute” was  ignored proved that the Pak political and military establishments had miserably  failed to properly assess the impact of emerging cosy relations between India  and the USA and the hype which the Modi visit to USA and his scheduled address to UN General Assembly ad generated. True to their mulish obstinacy Pakistan opted for escalation of conflict on the borders hoping thereby to prompt  apprehensions of nuclear confrontation between the two estranged neighbours.   This, it was hoped would goad the UN, USA and European community to  urgency of intervention in Kashmir
dispute.