Sultan M Hali
Indian false flag operations have been a part of its strategy, in pursuit of the Chanakyan dictums of guile and deceit. The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them. The term originates from naval warfare, where the use of a flag other than the belligerent’s true battle flag before (but not while) engaging the enemy has long been accepted as a permissible ruse de guerre; by contrast, flying a false flag while engaging the enemy constitutes perfidy.
India has been indulging in false flag operations for more than four decades but since 2014, when the “Butcher of Gujarat”, Narendra Modi assumed the mantle of Prime Minister of India, such deceitfulness has become the order of the day. Carefully choreographed terror attacks are staged managed on Indian military installations while Pakistan is blamed for the assault.
Earlier, whenever a dignitary was to visit India, a false flag operation was conducted on Indian soil and Pakistan was painted in bad light. In January 1971, Indian spy agency RAW conducted a false flag operation in the form of hijacking an F-27 aircraft “Ganga”, laden with passengers from India to Lahore. The hijackers were masquerading as Kashmiri freedom fighters. This false flag operation was orchestrated to blame Pakistan and use the incident to deny Pakistan over flight rights to dispatch logistic support to its beleaguered troops in East Pakistan. Resultantly, RAW and Indian troops expedited the secession of Pakistan’s Eastern Wing.
In 1999, an Indian passenger aircraft was hijacked to Kabul. The then Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh carried out negotiations while the ruling Taliban became the mediators. Maulana Mahmood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad involved in Jihad in occupied Kashmir and three others jailed in India were released in lieu of the release of the passengers and the plane. This episode was meant to portray Pakistan as supporter of terrorism in Kashmir and India was a victim of cross border terrorism.
Chittisinghpura incident was staged on the occasion of visit of Bill Clinton to India in March 2000. A dozen Sikhs were gunned down by RAW operatives but the blame was put on Kashmiri Mujahedeen and Pakistan to brand them as terrorists. Terror attack on Indian Parliament by a handful of “militants” on December 13, 2001 was again a false flag operation, launched in the wake of the 9/11 attack, to bracket Pakistan with international terrorism. Since Pakistan had joined the US-led war on terror, India failed to mobilise International opinion against Pakistan. India decided to take punitive action against Pakistan and deployed its forces in massive numbers along the entire length of the border and activated its forward air bases and moved forward its naval battle ships in the high seas. Pakistan military responded with equal grit and determination and forced the blood thirsty Indian military to pull back after 10 months of military standoff.
Pakistan’s wholehearted participation in the war on terror hurt Indian machinations to portray Pakistan as a terror monger. From 2001 till 2008, Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) and Pakistan were blamed for all acts of terror taking place in India which included Samjhota Express train blasts killing 59 Pakistanis, blasts in Mecca mosque Hyderabad and a mosque in Malegaon.
Mumbai attack by ten terrorists on November 26, 2008 was yet another false flag operation designed to achieve several objectives. It was aimed at deflecting the attention of the world from occupied Kashmir where armed movement had suddenly transformed into unarmed movement after Amarnath land issue and had stunned the Indian policy makers; to halt composite dialogue which had covered ground and had reached a stage of taking decisions; to get LeT declared as terrorist organization by the UN and the US; to brand ISI as a rogue organization; to carryout surgical strikes against alleged training camps in Muridke and Azad Kashmir; and lastly to destabilize Karachi with the help of MQM and TTP.
In January 2013, another drama of beheading two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir was staged to reinvigorate cross border terrorism charge against Pakistan. It was alleged that the attackers dressed in uniform had come from Pakistan. This was made into an excuse to heat up the LoC and carryout merciless firing on the villages located along the LoC and the deployed Pakistani troops. Offensive statements were hurled by the then Army chief Gen VK Singh (the one who claimed to have raised and trained a special technical unit for cross border terrorism in Pakistan, and after retirement joined BJP). That was the year when the incident of Indian spy Sarabjit Singh awarded death sentence was drummed up when he was killed by a prison-mate in Kot Lakhpat jail. In reaction, Pakistani Sanaullah Niazi interned in Jammu jail and set to be released was murdered by a Hindu prison-mate at the behest of RAW.
Ever since Modi assumed power, the number of false flag operations has been on the rise and now India has fresh motivation to target Pakistan. The advent of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is much to the chagrin of India. It would not like to see Pakistan stabilize and prosper economically. The false flag operations have taken on a farcically high intensity as India is getting desperate. False flag operations are being orchestrated nearly every week and Pakistan is getting the blame for them. Even international observers must be weary of the sham charades being churned out by the Indian propaganda machinery.
Pakistani foreign ministry, which remains headless, must get its act together and gear up to expose Indian deceit and guile, which have assumed huge proportions under its National “Terrorism” Advisor, Ajit Doval, who is a self confessed terror monger. Pakistani media too must take cognizance of Indian machinations and expose the true and hideous face of India, which has run out of ideas in its incessant false flag operations.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.