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Op-ed: How India has been coloring the minds of the world since day one

After a massive propaganda war in 1971, India once again launched 4thGeneration hybrid war on a much bigger scale to demonize Pakistan and its premier institutions. The purpose was to paint Pakistan as the villain of peace.

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The security situation of Pakistan has remained turbulent right from its inception due to the meddlesome role of India. India has waged wars and employed an indirect strategy to destabilize Pakistan. The reason behind India’s unending hostility is its belief in the mythical Mahabharata and its desire to become the unchallenged power of South Asia. Pakistan’s refusal to accept India’s hegemony has kept the two archrivals locked up in never-ending antagonism.

India’s policy of belligerence against all the states of South Asia has kept the region socio-economically weak and backward. Soon after the birth of Pakistan, India annexed two-thirds of the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which was to become part of Pakistan in accordance with the agreed-upon formula of contiguity and demography.

Purpose was to paint Pakistan as the villain of peace; nuclear proliferator and abettor of terrorism and to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state.

India’s hand in the assassination of Pakistan’s first PM

Kashmir became the bone of contention and has kept the two countries on a warpath. India also tried hard to detach the NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) with the help of Khan Brothers and Baluchistan with the help of Sardars of Kalat and Makran. People of Pakistan had still not overcome the grief of Quaid-e-Azam’s demise in Sept 1948, when they suffered another tragedy of the murder of Liaqat Ali Khan in October 1951.

CIA masterminded his murder after he refused to influence Iran not to nationalize its oil industry. Thereon, Pakistan was faced with a leadership crisis and never came out of it. On account of India’s expansionist and dangerous designs, Pakistan joined the western pacts in 1954 with a view to building its military and economy. Security concerns forced Pakistan to shed a sizeable part of its budget for the defense of the country, which was at the cost of socio-economic development of the less developed provinces.

Read more: Indian Terrorism Dossier: Pakistan Foreign Office exposes Indian support to terrorism

How India masterminded the East Pakistan crisis

Taking advantage of its six times bigger size, and superiority in men and material, India invaded Pakistan on multiple fronts in Sept 1965 in order to destroy the Pak armed forces but the grit and valor of Pak forces thwarted its nefarious designs. While the former USSR met all the defense needs of India, Pakistan’s military almost exhausted its reserve stocks since the US had cut off its military supplies including vital spare parts during the war. Pakistan had gained a definite edge at the conclusion of the 17-day intense war and its performance was lauded by the world.

Learning a lesson that Pakistan cannot be defeated in a one-to-one contest, India decided to use PsyOps as a weapon to win the next war. India concentrated its whole focus upon East Pakistan, situated 1000 miles away and its poverty-stricken people were vulnerable to subversion. Indian agencies made use of the affluent Hindi Bengalis and educationists to inject hatred in the minds of the youth against West Pakistan.

West Bengal culture was played up and East Pakistan projected as the colony of West Pakistan to build Bengali nationalism. During the one-year election campaign in 1970, the armed militia of Awami League, called Mukti Bahinis, terrorized Bengalis. As a consequence, Sheikh Mujib led Awami League to sweep the polls in the December 1970 elections.

The security situation of Pakistan has remained turbulent right from its inception due to the meddlesome role of India. India has waged wars and employed an indirect strategy to destabilize Pakistan.

When ZA Bhutto refused to attend the session called by Mujib on 03 March and he threatened that the legs of political leaders of West Pakistan going to Dacca will be broken, Gen Yahya buckled under pressure and on 01 March he postponed the session without giving the fresh date. It made the Bengalis go berserk and from 2 Mach 1971 onward the militant Bengalis started killing and raping West Pakistanis, Biharis, and pro-Pakistani Bengalis ruthlessly.

When the ten days of negotiations between the two teams led by Gen Yahya and Mujib failed due to the uncompromising stance of Mujib who wanted confederation, Yahya who was being heckled for keeping the troops in cotton wools, ordered the military action on March 25, 1971, to restore law and order. Mujib was arrested and locked up in Mianwali jail. Bhutto exclaimed, “Thank God Pakistan is saved”. The military action triggered a countrywide civil war, which was pacified, and all the lost towns recaptured by the end of May. The insurgency, however, kept simmering in rural areas.

India masterminded the East Pakistan crisis

While the Bengalis trained and armed in 59 training camps together with Indian soldiers dressed in civil clothes were pitched against the military in a nine-month insurgency in 1971, RAW and Indian media in collusion with western and Israeli media houses embarked upon a massive propaganda war to demonize Pakistani troops deployed in East Pakistan. They were painted as human eating, blood-sucking monsters, and rapists.

So vast was the scale and intensity of the propaganda that India succeeded in coloring the minds of the world and they believed in what Indian media and Indian diplomats stated. Indian narrative succeeded because Pakistan remained tightlipped during the bloodshed committed by the Mukti Bahini killing over 100,000 and raping hundreds of non-Bengalis and vandalizing their properties from 2 to 25 March. The reason to remain silent was that it wanted to avoid a backlash against the Bengalis in West Pakistan.

Read more: The irksome dossier

After achieving 80% results through an indirect strategy of subversion and propaganda, India employed the military instrument against the fatigued and marooned Pak forces with overwhelming superiority of 16:1 to overrun East Pakistan and create Bangladesh. Even though the Indian military had severed Pakistan’s eastern limb, the Pakistan military was held responsible for the breakup and since then it has been denigrated on the fake charges that it had killed 3 million Bengalis and raped 300,000 Bengali women during a 9-month insurgency. These cockeyed accusations have still not been erased.

How Indian propaganda worked within Pakistan

Much against its hope that truncated Pakistan would accept Indian hegemony particularly after it embarked upon a massive force modernization program with the help of its patron Soviet Union and becoming a nuclear power in 1974, Pakistan refused to get overawed and laid the foundation stone of its nuclear program in 1976. It impelled India to once again indulge in subversive activities in smaller provinces of Pakistan that nurtured grievances against the state.

The Pakhtunistan stunt in the NWFP backed by Kabul and Delhi and promoted by the ANP kept festering. Baluchistan became restive due to the Baloch insurgency in the 1970s. RAW fomented ethnicity in rural Sindh. MRD movement in rural Sindh in 1983 led by the PPP was supported by India.

The emergence of MQM in 1984 militarized Karachi and led to New Sindhis and old Sindhis clash resulting in a rural-urban divide and making Sindh a wounded province. GM Sayed and JSQM kept the Sindhu Desh movement alive. Two operations had to be launched in 1992 and in 1995 to quell RAW aided MQM militancy in Karachi-Hyderabad, and Dacoit Raj patronized by the Waderas and Sindhi political leaders in rural Sindh.

The reason behind India’s unending hostility is its belief in the mythical Mahabharata and its desire to become the unchallenged power of South Asia. Pakistan’s refusal to accept India’s hegemony has kept the two archrivals locked up in never-ending antagonism.

Religious sectarianism and ten-year Afghan war

Religious sectarianism in Punjab in the 1990s ignited by Saudi Arabia and Iran and duly exploited by India was controlled in 1998. The Sindhi nationalists and ANP leaders at the behest of India obstructed the construction of the Kalabagh dam, which had become essential to meet the water needs of the country. It led to a severe energy crisis and made Pakistan dependent upon the IPP’s run expensive thermal power. India started building dams over three rivers flowing into Pakistan to accentuate water scarcity.

Pakistan after getting involved in the ten-year Afghan war from 1979 to 1989, had to face cultures of Kalashnikov, drugs, and religious extremism, as well as Al-Zulfiqar’s terrorism and RAW-KGB-KHAD covert war. It bore the burden of 4 million Afghan refugees and suffered economic hardships on account of American sanctions that remained enforced till 2001. These insalubrious circumstances nosedived Pakistan’s economy that had remained stronger than the other South Asian States till 1992 and made it debt-ridden.

‘Terrorism used as a weapon to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize’

After 9/11, India in collusion with Afghanistan, the US, and Israel has been systematically destabilizing Pakistan through gigantic covert war using Afghan soil and also strategically encircling and isolating Pakistan. FATA in the northwest and Baluchistan in the southwest were chosen as initial battlegrounds to inject terrorism. After forcing Pakistan to induct regular troops in FATA to oust Al-Qaeda, which was in violation of the 1948 agreement, the tribesmen of South Waziristan picked up arms. Similar tactics were used in Baluchistan where the army had to step in to combat the Bugti-Marri-Mengal tribe led insurgency.

Read more: Dec 16: remembering the Indian-backed tragedies of APS & East Pakistan

Proxies were created by foreign agencies based in Kabul for the two restive regions and they were funded, equipped, and trained to conduct sabotage and subversion. Pakistan was handcuffed and disallowed to indulge in a proxy war against India by tailoring the terrorism laws in such a way that even genuine freedom movements, as well as countries supporting such movements, were put in the category of terrorism and subjected to sanctions.

The objective of terrorism:

Terrorism was used as a weapon to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and balkanize Pakistan with the help of proxies. For this purpose, RAW established 66 training camps in Afghanistan and 21 in India. Brainwashing cells were created to indoctrinate the militants. Ajit Doval ‘Defensive Offence Doctrine-2014’ envisaged undertaking clandestine operations. Modi openly announced his support to the Baloch separatists.

Initial mission given to the proxies was to gain sway over the two rural regions by scaring away the civil administration, paramilitary forces, killing pro-Pakistan elements, to bleed the security forces and to create insecurity. In Baluchistan, the Chinese engineers working in Gwadar, the settlers, Hazaras, security forces, check posts, military and civil buses, trains, gas pipelines, power transmissions were assigned as the targets. Other objectives were to pin down maximum regular forces in the two widely apart zones, make the lines of communications insecure and to defame the Army by propagating that it is a mercenary army fighting for dollars. Covert war was supplemented by hybrid war, water terrorism and drone war.

Learning a lesson that Pakistan cannot be defeated in a one-to-one contest, India decided to use PsyOps as a weapon to win the next war. India concentrated its whole focus upon East Pakistan, situated 1000 miles away and its poverty-stricken people were vulnerable to subversion.

4th Generation Hybrid War

After massive propaganda war in 1971, India once again launched 4thGeneration hybrid war on a much bigger scale to demonize Pakistan and its premier institutions. Purpose was to paint Pakistan as the villain of peace; nuclear proliferator and abettor of terrorism and to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. This narrative was built from the time of an engineered terror attack on Indian Parliament in New Delhi on Dec 13, 2001, the blame of which was pinned on Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) allegedly facilitated by the ISI. India declared it as its 9/11 and carried out biggest troop mobilization.

For next ten months, the two militaries remained in eyeball-to-eyeball contact and finally India withdrew its forces sheepishly in October 2002. From that time onwards, all the terror attacks that took place in India or in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) were put in the basket of JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the ISI.

Read more: How Pakistan is still part of America’s war on terror

These included attacks on mosques in Malegaon and Hyderabad, Dargah in Uch Sharif, and Samjhota Express in which the majority of victims were Muslims. The puppet regime of Karzai in Kabul soon joined the chorus and blamed Pakistan for all the attacks in Afghanistan. The US-led west bolstered the false narrative. The climax came when Pakistan was blamed for the attacks in Mumbai on Nov 26, 2008, and India once again mobilized its strike formations and canceled the composite dialogue between the two neighbors. Since then, India’s hostility kept scaling new heights.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS and Veterans think tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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