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Is Pakistan Army ttempting to Activate the LoC?


Facing intense resistance from the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the uncooperative approach of the defacto Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Western front has been active.


Recent incidents on the Line of Control [LoC] with India indicate possibility of some preliminary moves to activate the India front to divert attention from failures in the West.


After the cease fire between India and Pakistan on the Line of Control [LoC]. that has been in place since February 2021 there were limited incidents of firing. However a recent incident of cease fire violation and claims by Pakistan of arrest of six smugglers from India alleging complicity of India’s Border Security Force in narco and arms smuggling happening since the Caretaker Government took office in Pakistan raises some concerns of the intent of the Pakistan Army which is in virtual control of the administration now with elections at least six months away.


Here is a review-


LoC Incident


Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned the Indian Chargé d’Affaires on August 22 to register its protest “over the killing of a Pakistani civilian as a result of unprovoked firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC)”.


According to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 60-year-old Mr. Ghias, a resident of Oli village in Kotli district, was killed as a result of Indian firing in the Nikial Sector of the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir on August 21.


Pak Foreign Office claimed that such acts are in clear violation of the 2003 ceasefire understanding between the two neighbouring countries, reaffirmed in February 2021. “Pakistan strongly condemns this incident and reiterates its commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region,” the Foreign Ministry added in the press statement.


Pakistan media quoted an earlier incident in June claiming Indian Army resorted to unprovoked firing on a group of shepherds along the LoC in which two shepherds will killed and Indian Charge d’ Affaires was also summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to register Pakistan’s strong protest over the ceasefire violation committed by the Indian forces.


The India Army on August 21 claimed to have killed two terrorists and foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district’s Balakote sector. “Intelligence inputs received from multiple intelligence agencies and police revealed the presence of terrorists waiting across the LoC to enter from Balakote sector. Based on these inputs, a surveillance grid was placed on heightened alert and multiple ambushes were planted at suitable locations,” said defence spokesperson Lt Col Suneel Bartwal.


Pakistan has increased the level of infiltration by terrorists supported by it in J & K after the onset of summer this year.


Apprehending of Smugglers


In another report Pakistan DG ISPR, the official media arm of the Army claimed that Pakistan Rangers troops deployed along the international border with India have apprehended six Indian nationals inside Pakistani territory between July 29 and August 3.


According to the statement, the Indians were trying to smuggle “narcotics, weapons and ammunition” into Pakistan. “It shows likely complicity of BSF troops in narco and weapons smuggling,” the ISPR said.


ISPR claimed that the four belonged to Ferozpur in India and also gave out the names. “These Indian smugglers will be dealt [with] as per law of the land for illegally entering into Pakistan and indulging in nefarious activities,” the ISPR said.


Fake News of Surgical Strike


Interestingly on August 22, the Ministry of Defence refuted claims in a media report of launch of a surgical strike in the same zone.


An Army official in a statement said, “A news has been published with respect to Surgical Strike. I would like to inform you that no such operation has been carried out in Rajouri – Poonch. An Infiltration Bid was foiled yesterday for which a press release has been given.”


Conclusion

Given the challenges that the Pakistan Army faces in internal security in Khyber Pakhtoonwa and Balochistan, it would be prudent to redeploy forces from the LoC front to these provinces and the Afghan border for containment of terrorism.


If the incidents above are preliminary indicators of the possibilities ahead on the LoC as with lack of a political shield of a civilian government Pakistan Army will be facing the flak directly from the public for failures on containing terror, thus the “India Bogie,” may prove convenient alibi.


Lets watch developments in the days ahead.

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