Balwan Nagial
Balwan Nagial

POJK: A Breeding Ground of Terrorism of Pakistan

The direct hostilities of Pakistan since 1947, in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, is a cause of various issues in the region. Pakistan is very active in helping and setting up jihadists training camps in POJK and many areas in Pakistan since its birth in 1947. Pakistan is allegedly financing these terrorists and their organisations to carry out their different terror and violent activities. Pakistan is not only grooming these terrorist groups but also providing logistic and moral support. Moreover, safeguarding the heads of these terrorist groups for fundraising to help their own country. These terrorist organisations have built a strong network for their operations and terrorist activities worldwide.

The Indian subcontinent was divided in Aug 1947 between India and Pakistan based on the two-nation theory. Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Then, one of the greatest migrations in human history began as millions of Muslims moved to West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In contrast, millions of Hindus and Sikhs marched in the opposite direction. Hundreds of thousands of ill-fated people never made it. Partition is fundamental to present-day identity in the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is an identity to the Jews. It is branded agonisingly onto the regional consciousness by memories of almost unimaginable violence. Roughly more than 15 million people were displaced, and between one and two million were dead.

The accession of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir to India happened as per the provisions laid down in the India Independence Act, which provided that the rulers of the princely states had to make the ultimate decision or not to join India or Pakistan. There was no provision in the Act for any option to determine as per the people’s desires. Under these provisions, other princely states also acceded to India or Pakistan without any significant issues.

While the signatory to the offer of accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was the State’s ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, Sheikh Abdullah, a Muslim, and the acknowledged political leader of the State, endorsed the decision, his rationale for endorsing the accession was, “if we accede to India, there is no danger of a revival of feudalism and autocracy. Moreover, during the last four years, the Government of India has never tried to interfere in our internal autonomy. This experience has strengthened our confidence in them as a democratic State. … The Indian Constitution has amply and finally repudiated the concept of a religious State, which is a throwback to medievalism, by guaranteeing the equality of rights of all citizens irrespective of their religion, colour, caste and class. The national movement in our State naturally gravitates towards these principles of secular democracy. The people here will never accept a principle that seeks to favour the interests of one religion or social group against another. This affinity in political principles, as well as in past association, and our common path of suffering in the cause of freedom, must be weighed properly while deciding the future of the State.” Thus the accession was final and irrevocable. There was no question of a conditional acceptance by the Governor-General for the simple reason that the legal framework defined for the future of the princely states under the Indian Independence Act did not have any provision for a conditional accession.

Pakistan has always pursued to use deniable violence to grapple Jammu and Kashmir from India. To force the Maharaja to assent Pakistan, Pakistan planned the so-called tribal raids in 1947 and held part of the territory of the J&K . It is a distortion of the truth to suggest that the raids were spontaneous. They were organised and synchronised by the Govt of Pakistan,  detailed given by the Pakistan Army Officer Akbar Khan, who had the responsibility of the tribal Lashkars and gave complete particulars of the operative plan in his book, Raiders in Kashmir, “I transcribed a plan under the title-Armed Revolt inside Kashmir.  As open meddling or aggression by Pakistan was not necessary, it was projected that our energies should be focussed upon strengthening the Kashmiris internally — and .. to prevent the advent of armed civilian or military support from India into Kashmir.”

Operation Gibraltar was the nickname of a military operation planned and executed by the Pakistan Army in the former State of Jammu & Kashmir in August 1965. The operation’s strategy was to covertly cross the Line of Control (LoC) and instigate the State’s people into an uprising against Indian sovereignty.  The military leadership believed that a rebellion (sparked by Operation Gibraltar) by the local Kashmiri population against Indian authorities would serve as Pakistan’s casus belli against India on the international stage.

When Pakistan failed miserably in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971 in wars against India then decided on a strategy called ‘Bleed India by Thousand Cuts’. The origins of the strategic doctrine are attributed to Z.A. Bhutto, then a member of the military regime of General Ayub Khan, who professed a thousand-year war against India during his address to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 1965. His plans for the war in 1971 included severing entire eastern India and making it a permanent part of East Pakistan, occupying Jammu and Kashmir, and turning East Punjab into a separate Khalistan. After losing the war and its East Pakistan, Pakistan decided to implement Bleed India By Thousand Cuts.

Pakistan has denied that any terrorist groups operate from its soil and insisted that the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Jaish e Mohammed, etc., were Kashmiri terrorists organisations with no presence in Pakistan. This was divergent to the evidence that has now been proved by the Pakistani crackdown on these groups from time to time and the disclosed detentions of many terrorists of these groups. Over the years, many of these groups have published advertisements in Pakistani newspapers and their publications, giving the detail of their office addresses in Pakistan and their telephone numbers and bank accounts and lobbying for money for the jihad against India. They have also printed names of their cadres killed in Jammu and Kashmir. The majority of these cadres are Pakistanis.

Since 1990, the main theatre of Pak sponsored activity in India has been the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, which has lost about 27,000 lives in the first decade of insurgency. The number of weapons, ammunition and warlike equipment recovered in various operations against terrorists may perhaps equip many Security Forces units. Throughout the decade long Pak supported terrorism in J&K, in total over 51,000 terrorist occurrences, around 27,000 persons, including about 9,700 civilians and over 3000 security personnel, were killed. The terrorist violence triggered extensive damage to private and public property, with many people, mainly Kashmiri Pandits, being forced to migrate from the Valley. Even foreign tourists were not spared. Terrorists posed a severe hazard to Aviation Security as these terrorists took to hijacking to accomplish their demands. With the weakening in local militancy, pan-Islamic ‘jehadi’ outfits have come to dominate, seeking to destroy the State’s secular fabric. The complexion of militancy has changed with intensive attacks on Security Forces (SF). Suicide attacks were on the rise. Propaganda was made to smear the image of security forces by lashing up contentions of human rights abuse even though terrorists have shown no concern for the human rights of their victims.

Over time, POJK has become a harbour, not for the terrorists operating against India but terrorists belonging to Internation Terrorist Outfits. An investigation into the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack revealed that Pakistan was carrying out terrorists’ training camps in POJK. These perpetrators hailed from Muzaffarabad, the Capital city POJK and reached Mumbai via Karachi. They were trained in different terrorist training camps. It is believed that there are more than 60 terrorists training camps in POJK and training the many terrorists. These terrorist camps are located mainly at Bhimber, Bakryal, Balakot, Chawari, Kotli, Mangla, etc. Lakshar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen(HM) have made Muzaffarabad their headquarters. Government is aware that ISI of Pakistan has reactivated terrorist training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). Several training camps and launching pads are reportedly active in PoK/Pakistan. As per the assessment, there are around 2500 terrorists present in PoK. (PIB, MHA 30 Nov 2011). Union minister Nityanand Rai told the Upper House on Wednesday that at least 630 terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir between May 2018 and June 2021. The Union Minister of State for home affairs also told the Rajya Sabha that 400 encounters happened in the same period, leading to the deaths of 85 security personnel.

Conclusion: Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities. India has repeatedly urged Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in POJK.

The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. PoJK is an integral part of India and is under illegal occupation; hence, non-military preemptive actions like Balakot and Uri strikes could also be initiated in the future.

About the Author
Colonel Balwan Nagial retired from the Indian Army in 2019 after serving for thirty years. Managed administration, security, project mgt throughout his service. He loves writing and contributing in newspapers and magazines in India. He loves Israeli culture.
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