New Delhi: It was the sunny morning of a day in the second week of July 1999, when an Indian Army Patrol was escorting a Maulvi from nearby Battalik town to nearby Jubar Hills, a feature located close to Line of Control with Pakistan. Despite his fitness being a hill resident, it was difficult for Maulvi to climb however the soldiers of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles were advancing like a seasoned mountaineer carrying the load of Maulvi also. They lost their comrades there on this very hill including Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey who was awarded Param Vir Chakra later.
Near the Jubar Top, Thirty Shallow graves were dug out in the mountains. Thirty Bodies were lying there covered with Pakistani Flags. Soon after he reached on top, he started the process of burial, first bathing the bodies with water brought from a nearby glacier, covered them in White Shroud and put the Pakistani Flag again. Then the Maulvi offered funeral prayers. Some of the Indian Army Soldiers including their officer also bowed down to pay respect to the deceased ones.
Pakistani Flags were removed, respectfully folded & kept along with the belongings of these soldiers. Later the bodies were lowered into the graves, covered with sand, gravel and stones whatever is available in those mountains and a marker was put on top of each one of them. A bugle played the song “Last Post” and finally the finest Gurkha Soldiers of Indian Army bid them last farewell. Till a few days back, they were fighting with the same people, these were the people who martyred their loving Pandey Sahab but nevertheless, a soldier is a soldier and he deserves a soldier’s burial. Though they were Pakistanis who were forgotten & totally disowned by their own country and the same country for which they fought and laid down their lives, is claiming them unknown &just not ready to take even their mortal remains.
Twenty years have been passed since then and the state of Pakistan Army is still the same. Whether they are on Indian Front or anywhere else, Pakistan rarely accepts its military casualties. It had been my own experience on Line of Control in Kashmir. We have seen Pakistani Soldiers getting killed in Shelling or Cease Fire Violation, we see their mortal remains going away through our binoculars, Our Radio intercepts confirm their deaths but rarely is the case where Pakistan Army or its media wing is accepting these deaths.
I tried to investigate the fact. Though no responsible country will disown its dead soldiers, why Pakistan is doing it is a surprise to me. As per my analysis, there could be several reasons for it. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Country formed over the Hate Syndrome against India
Pakistan is built on the very foundation of hate against India. Entire Foreign Policy of Pakistan surrounds India and no other country. This is the reason they have named all their missiles after the Muslim invaders who attacked India. It is the irony of the nation that they are not able to accept any defeat against India. Pakistan fought four major wars with India in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 and got defeated in each one of them. yet if you see the history of Wars on Pakistan Army’s website.
They claim decisive victory in each one of them – even in 1971 war where we had 93000 Pakistani Prisoners of War.
All this is basically to portray to their public that they are invincible, the strongest Army of the world and can defeat India anytime. So, if it is revealed that their soldiers were killed by the Indian Army, the news gives a serious jolt to this Image of Pakistan Army in front of their Public.
It had been the history of Pakistan that since 1947, they have kept their public under an illusion that they are the ultimate superpower of Asia. If we see the statement of each one of their leaders- weather Political or Military, this hate is absolutely visible. It is purely because of this hate syndrome, they are unable to accept their death.
Censorship of ISPR on Media organisations
Since 1947 there had been a significant feature of Pakistan which is still there and that is media censorship. Due to several coups and several decades of military dictatorship, the only organisation which is over and above all in Pakistan is Pakistan Army. Till date in the last 72 years of this country, there had been none who survived after criticising Pakistan Army.
The media division of Pakistan Army called Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is the most potent organisation in the media. Any news about the army which is not officially released by ISPR cannot be published by any media house. There had been cases where even large media houses were shut down for criticising Pakistan Army. The way Geo TV and Jang group was handled by Pakistan Army and ultimately had to bow down to avoid their closure is a clear example of this.
So now say if Pakistan lost 10 soldiers in border skirmishes with India and ISPR has not released it, there is no media house in the country who has the courage to publish it or run it. The fear of Pakistan Army is that much. Recently, Taha Siddiqui, a journalist of a reputed international TV channel was kidnapped, beaten and threatened by goons of ISI for publishing a news item criticising them. Soon the threatening became so imminent that he had to leave his country to migrate in Europe. Example of Cyril Almeida, a columnist with Dawn is also an ideal example.
Practically there is a complete blackout on the Military related news in Pakistan unless it is released by ISPR itself. So, Pakistan Army takes its benefit by not releasing their figures and inflating the figures of Indian Soldiers killed in Action so that a clear message goes to their public that their Army is strongest and invincible.
Pakistan Army’s Strict control over the burial procedure
It is a policy of Pakistan Army that all the martyrs will be buried by the Pakistani Army themselves. There are strict controls over it and even the family members of the deceased ones must adhere to the protocols & orders of the Pakistani Army. Very few bodies are sent to their native places. Most of them are buried in the “Graveyard of Martyrs” located in the vicinity of every Military cantonment. It was revealed after speaking to a few Pakistani people that every time a soldier gets killed, his family members are taken into confidence, pressurised and compelled to follow the instructions of Pakistan Army. People do that because taking an enmity with so-called “Strongest Force of the world” is inviting death.
Moreover, no politician or common public is invited to the funeral. In most cases, it is just Pakistan Army and the close family members of the deceased soldier who are present for the funeral. No camera or media person is invited except the cameramen of Pakistan Army themselves. So, simply there are no chances of a news leak and even if it is happening, can be suppressed effectively by threatening the journalist or the media house.
There have been cases where the family members of deceased soldiers were displaced and moved away from their original place of stay basically to hide the death of the soldier.
Showing death in different incidents
Since Pakistan was created on the platform of hatred against India, it can accept defeat against anyone but India. There had been cases where Pakistani Officer and Soldiers were killed on Eastern Border in ceasefire violations or in border Skirmishes, but they were shown killed in action against terrorists in Baluchistan, Waziristan, Swat Valley or on Pak-Afghan Border. This was deliberately done by ISPR to hide its casualties against India.
Pakistan Army is not answerable to the Parliament of Pakistan
In June 2017, Pakistan Minister of State for Water and Power, Mr Abid Sher Ali informed the Pakistani Parliament that he had written a letter to General Headquarters, Rawalpindi to know the details of soldiers killed in action on Line of Control. He confirmed that the reply he received was “That the number of soldiers killed cannot be disclosed due to security reasons. We don’t want our enemy to know how many soldiers laid down their lives”. This is very much detrimental to any democracy where Orders of Parliament cannot deter the Military Junta. Whatever Military says must be accepted by Parliament.
This is no secret news. There is nothing to hide as the Indian Army already had an idea as to how many Pakistani soldiers were killed due to modern techniques like UAVs, Radio Interceptors and Long-range optic & surveillance devices. Even in “Operation Vijay” in 1999, after we searched the heights and got the belongings of these soldiers, we knew who they were, how many of them were there, what all they have gone through and so on.
Their letters received from family members and unsent letters reveal their psychological status too so the reason for keeping such things secret from India can not be a reason practically.
So, from whom does the Pakistani Army want to hide these casualties? Leave apart their casualties on Line of Control, they have not yet released the complete list of their dead soldiers from Kargil War even after a passage of 20 years.
This is absolutely clear that this security reason is nothing but to hide these figures from their own public. If they disclose their dead, their real face of so-called “Strongest Army” will be revealed in front of their own people which they don’t want to happen. Better live in disguise till your real face is revealed.
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