On the verge of war?

Afshain Afzal

Almost entire media, especially Indian and American, is predicting a war between India and Pakistan. One wonders if the media coverage and predictions are genuine or it is yellow journalism to create hatred between two neighbouring nations. The New York Times reported today, “India announced on Thursday that it had carried out early morning “surgical strikes” on terrorist camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, a step that risks escalating the conflict between the two nuclear powers”. The newspaper quoting a senior Pakistani security official saying… Pakistan would consider a cross-border strike by India an act of war.”
The Times of India reported, “In the first such action, India carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) with the Army saying on Thursday its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)”. While Hindustan Times reported, “Indian authorities ordered evacuation of villages in Punjab near Pakistan border on Thursday amid fears of retaliation from Islamabad following India’s claim of surgical strikes against “terror launchpads” across the LoC”.
The leading Pakistani newspaper quoting ISPR said “The Pakistani military confirmed the deaths of its soldiers yet dismissed the Indian claim of ‘surgical strikes”. The paper added that sources quoted by Indian media alleged that Indian para commandos went 2-3 kilometres into AJK in Mi-17 choppers and destroyed six ‘terror camps’, killing at least 38 suspected terrorists along with Pakistan Army troops.
Interestingly, it is on record that India never claimed surgical attacks inside Pakistan or across LoC. We have only one source from which the information regarding surgical attacks emitted i.e. Indian DGMO, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, who shared this information through a press conference on Sept 29 2016. Let us see what he said, “…Credible information we received yesterday that some terrorist teams have positioned themselves at launch pads along the LoC with an aim to carryout infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and various other metros in our country. The Indian Army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launch pads… We do not have any plans for further continuation of the operations. However, the Indian Armed Forces are fully prepared for any contingency that may arise. I have just spoken to the Pakistani DGMO and explained our concerns and also shared with him operations… We expect the Pakistan Army to cooperate with us with a view to erase this menace of terrorism from our region”.
One wonders how the media can be so irresponsible to generate breaking stories that Indian surgical attacks were inside Pakistan or territories under her control. If we recall, the Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also misquoted and exploited by the Indian and International media whereas, it is on record that he did not utter a single word against Pakistan or interfered in the internal affairs of any country. But so much hype was created and seeds of mistrust, suspicion and hatred were sown in the minds of people of Pakistan and India. In the present media campaign to create war hysteria over surgical attack and bring Pakistan and India on the verge of war, there can be no excuse that media failed to distinguish between “Along LoC and “Across the LoC”. Even if we consider it as unintentional omission, how media could ignore Indian DGMO request to Pakistan Army for cooperation to erase this menace of terrorism from the region. It is high time to bring media under strict legal framework so that next time it dares not to misreport and misquote official statements.
— The writer is a political analyst based in Islamabad.

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