Pakistani communications intercepted by Indian agencies reveal that Pakistan believes that its only option is to incite violence in the valley and make it appear as an ‘internal rebellion’.
New Delhi: Pakistani diplomats specialising on India, officers of the ISI and army officers belonging to GHQ, Rawalpindi, are planning to foment “waves of protest” and fatal attacks on Indian security forces by “determined Kashmiris” to keep the Kashmir issue on the boil internationally. They believe that once these protests keep getting larger in size and occur regularly, Kashmir will turn into a “disturbed state” in need of “international intervention” to calm things down. Communications sent from Pakistan and intercepted by Indian agencies—and meant for people who are sympathetic to the “Kashmir cause”—reveal that Islamabad believes that inciting violence in the valley and making it appear as “internal rebellion” is the only “strong and viable” option that it has to counter the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution because of which Kashmir is no longer a disputed territory as far as India is concerned.
According to inputs gathered by India’s security apparatus, the ISI is convinced that these “protests”, either organic or instigated, are going to happen within the next few days as the security cover in the valley is relaxed and winter approaches.
According to a very senior Government of India officer, “They are playing the wait and watch game. They know that if trouble happens in the valley, we will not be able to relax the security cover and the restrictions on movements and communication will continue. They just need 400-500 people in the entire valley to spread disturbance. We are in a very delicate situation as neither can we impose restrictions indefinitely nor can we give, knowingly or unknowingly, a handful of misguided people the opportunity to play into the hands of Pakistan by allowing them to indulge in violent activities like throwing stones and damaging property.” The officer also added that there was not even 1% chance of J&K going back to its pre-5 August status, come what may. “That is not even a remote possibility,” he said.
The 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to take place between 17 September and 30 September in New York. It is expected that Pakistan will use this forum to attract the eyes of the world on Kashmir.
Pro-Pakistan groups in India have been instructed by Pak officers to secure video footage of protests in Kashmir, as and when they happen, and make sure that they are physically brought to Delhi or Jammu so that these can be spread further as there are internet restrictions in the valley.
Pakistan has also asked its lobby groups and individuals in the United Kingdom and United States to be prepared to start an India-shaming exercise in their respective countries by using “evidence” of “police and army brutalities to subjugate innocent Kashmiris”, which is being collected by its apparatus from Kashmir.
One such intercepted communication accessed by The Sunday Guardian states that “the only thing that can force the Indian government to take back its recent step will be the response of the Kashmiri people. Protests need to be encouraged in the valley and recorded so that it can be shared” (sentence has been re-structured).
Official sources tracking the development said that the Pakistan establishment was worried that if significant steps were not taken soon, Pakistan might lose whatever “traction and hold” it had in the valley.
A political functionary said: “Those people feel they have less than six months—if they are not able to disturb the valley within six months, they will lose Kashmir forever. The psychological message that Kashmir is now like any other state of India has hit them hard and they realise that once this message percolates down to the ordinary Kashmiri, the ‘resonance’ of Pakistan too will die in the valley. The social media campaigns and the rhetoric of Pakistan-based politicians are being undertaken with the intention to entice the gullible minds in the valley. They are planning to make it a matter of religion by stating that after 5 August, Muslims of Kashmir have become to second-class people. This idea is to get the support of the Islamic countries.”
After the surgical strike of 2016 and the 2019 Balakot airstrike, Pakistan needs to factor in the element of “unpredictability” that Indian policymakers have added to their arsenal, something which had been missing for the better part of the last seven decades.
“Pakistan is now worried that with Kashmir not an issue anymore (at least as far as India is concerned), Indian forces are going to enter Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the coming months and try to reclaim it. This is a very serious concern among their policymakers. We, on our part, cannot say anything on our next move. We are prepared for whatever is asked of us,” a military official said.