Indian army using people of held Kashmir as human shields: ISPR

Updated Apr 25 2020

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DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addresses the media on Friday. — DawnNewsTV/File
DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addresses the media on Friday. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army on Friday said that Indian troops were using people of occupied Kashmir as human shields while committing ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said Indian troops had positioned their guns, used in ceasefire violations, within populated areas of occupied Kashmir to save themselves from Pakistan Army’s retaliatory fire.

“Indian Army is using people of occupied Kashmir as human shields,” he said in a televised statement after a meeting of the Principal Staff Officers at the General Headquarters (GHQ).

The agenda of the meeting related to the sharp spike in ceasefire violations by the Indian troops along the LoC and allegations against Pakistan by the top Indian military leadership.

Besides, the meeting reviewed the participation of Pakistan Army in the efforts for containing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Meeting at GHQ discusses ceasefire violations by Indian troops along LoC

Indian troops have this year continued with high frequency of ceasefire breaches along the LoC. There have been 848 violations so far this year in which three people, including an infant, have been martyred in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), besides dozens others suffering serious injuries. A sharp spike in the violations has particularly been witnessed since Feb 26, when Pakistan’s fight against Covid-19 started. During this period, Gen Babar said, there have been 456 ceasefire violations by India often targeting civilian populated areas with heavy artillery.

The military spokesman said that alongside increased shelling along LoC, Indian army had whipped up anti-Pakistan propaganda through its country’s media.

Gen Babar said the meeting chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa “took a serious note” of irresponsible statements of the Indian military leadership and continued aggression at LoC.

“Latest statements of Indian military leaders reveal frustration and demoralisation because of internal failures,” he remarked.

He was apparently referring to a recent statement by Indian Army Chief Gen M.M. Naravane in which he had said: “While India is sending out medical teams to other countries and exporting medicines, Pakistan is only exporting terror.”

Gen Naravane had, moreover, alleged that “Pakistan had resorted to firing heavy calibre artillery and killing innocent Kashmiris to garner international attention”.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Indian army’s 15th Corps Lt Gen B.S. Raju in an interview with BBC Hindi had alleged that Pakistan could push Covid-19 infected people into occupied Kashmir.

Gen Babar said that whenever India faced internal problems, it initiated allegations against Pakistan as a diversionary tactic.

“Latest allegations are also meant to divert global attention from Indian blunders resulting from pursuance of wrong policies including exploitation and abuse of minorities, state terrorism against people of IOK or aggravating Covid-19 situation,” he maintained.

The spokesman said Indian army’s irrational actions were because of extremist Hindu mindset making inroads into its ranks alongside spreading its roots in the Indian society.

“Saffronisation of Indian military and polity is a sad specter that the world can ill afford under these circumstances,” he warned.

He also touched on the Covid-19 situation in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to refute Indian propaganda. He said there have been only 55 cases of coronavirus disease in Azad Kashmir out of which 25 have recovered. Meanwhile, there has been no death because of the disease in AJK. In GB, meanwhile, there were 607 cases of which 212 have recovered. Only three Covid-19 patients have died in GB. The situation there, he said, was rapidly improving.

Gen Bajwa, he said, had directed all commanders to maintain high level of vigilance at the borders and preparedness. Routine training activities are also being continued, he added.

The spokesman decried the stigmatisation of Muslims in India for allegedly spreading coronavirus disease.

He said India’s heinous ploy of connecting the epidemic to Islam has backfired and this has been condemned the world over. The epidemic, he underscored, does not make any distinction on the basis of colour, ethnicity or religion.

Gen Babar said the fires of injustice, barbarity, racial discrimination, and hate ignited by India in occupied Kashmir have spread across its own territory.

In a brief on the Covid-19 situation, he said the figures of confirmed cases are so far below projection, but they could peak in next couple of weeks. He urged everyone to exercise caution, both individually and communally.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2020