EDITORIAL: Pakistan has maintained all along that February 2019 deadly bombing on an Indian security forces convoy that left 44 soldiers dead was a false flag operation.
Its position was formally vindicated at recent rare event hosted by Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi where he asked questions of BJP- appointed governor of the illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), Satya Pal Malik, who was in office at the time of attack, which brought the two nuclear armed neighbours to the brink of a war.
The sum of the two men’s conversation was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used the incident for domestic political gains.
Gandhi recalled that when the bodies of the soldiers arrived at the Delhi airport and he went there to pay homage to the fallen men, what he saw was a cynical event in which Modi was being photographed with scarcely any thought for the sombre moment.
Answering as to why the Pulwama incident happened, Malik said they (the soldiers) were sitting ducks because they were denied aircraft to move them as was the protocol. Their application for an airlift kept sitting for four months in the home ministry and then it was rejected, forcing the soldiers to take the road known to be unsafe.
Given that the Modi government blamed Pakistan for it, a nagging question is also that with IIOJ&K swarming with Indian security forces, how come an explosives-laden truck arrived undetected at Jammu-Srinagar highway? Malik had told two TV channels that “it was not our [his office’s] fault, but was asked not to say this anywhere.” He had held back at the time thinking that might impact the investigation, but there was no investigation.
“On the third day, PM Modi gave his speech where he used it politically,” Malik said. Earlier, he had told India’s news website, The Wire, that he had “realised that all the onus of the attack will be put on Pakistan” to reap electoral benefits. And sure enough, Modi constantly did that to reinforce his anti-Pakistan rhetoric in the run up to elections and returned to power with a large majority.
To further whip up public frenzy he had launched an air strike on a purported ‘terrorist training camp’, inside Pakistan which local and foreign journalists visiting the scene found to be a bunch of trees burned by bombing. In a befitting response, Pakistan downed two Indian warplanes and captured one of the pilots.
Now that the leader of a major political party and the man in charge of the place at the time of the Pulwama bombing have punched a big hole in Modi’s false, jingoistic narrative, what next? When Malik had made the same revelations in his earlier interview, the Foreign Office in Islamabad had expressed the hope that the international community would hold India accountable for the actions that imperiled regional peace in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack — a vain expectation, indeed.
But it can be hoped that in the forthcoming elections the people of India will hold Narendra Modi and his party to account for the dodgy lies he has been telling them.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023