A day after heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Indian Army in north Kashmir's Uri, killing at least 17 soldiers and injuring 10 other personnel, India-Pakistan relations are at an all-time low yet again.
And as leaders and sections of the media in India blamed Pakistan for the one of the worst terror attacks on the Indian Army, Pakistani media also lashed out at Indian authorities, claiming that the Uri attack was "staged" and trying to shift the focus from the Uri terror attack to the Kashmir unrest.
Perhaps the most caustic remarks against India were made in an article in The News International titled 'Uri attack is an addition to RAW failures'.
Apart from claiming that the Uri terror attack was staged, the article also spewed vitriol at Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
"The Indian political and security establishment is notorious for designing bizarre pseudo operations so that it could defame Pakistan in the eyes of the world," said the article.
The article also focused on the timing of the Uri attack and claimed that "New Delhi explicitly wishes to dilute the effects of Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations".
What the article conveniently ignores, however, is that similar allegations can be made against Pakistan when it comes to the timing of the attack. As this Firstpost article points out, Pakistan could benefit from the timing of the assault because this terror attack could shift focus of other countries to the Kashmir unrest, an issue which Pakistan has always wanted to highlight in the global arena.
The News International article also suggested that the Pathankot terror attack was also staged, something which Pakistan has also suggested in the past.
Ironically, Pakistan government had come under fire from the opposition which accused it of hiding the details of the probe into Pakistani nationals' involvement in the Pathankot terror attack, prompting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the findings would be made public, according to PTI.
The Express Tribune had reported that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator Farhatullah Babar had accused the Pakistani government of misleading the Senate by deliberately concealing information from them and went to the extent of alleging that the government was patronising militants.
What was shocking, however, was that The News International article even suggested that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was also staged. "The November 26, 2008 Mumbai attack is yet another candid example of Indian false flag operations," it said.
Yet another article in The News International stated that sources in the Pakistani security establishment said that the Uri attack was "a Pathankot-like Indian-staged drama to trumpet its terrorism mantra against Pakistan" and the battalion headquarters in Uri was "chosen deliberately to antagonise the Sikhs from supporting the Muslims’ struggle in Kashmir".
The Pakistani media's claims that India would stage an operation against its own army personnel who are responsible for the security of the nation is perhaps the most significant evidence of the jingoistic and biased way in which it covered the Uri attack.
Unlike the allegation that the Uri attack was staged by India, the allegation that the attackers were Pakistan-based terrorists is backed by substantial evidence. According to CNN-News18, the terrorists carried weapons and ammunition with Pakistani markings. They also reportedly carried candy made by United Traders, Karachi.
General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Army's 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha had also said on Sunday that there was enough evidence to show that the terrorists who carried out the Uri attack were supported by Pakistani establishment and were highly trained for special operations.
"The markings on the warlike and logistic stores whether it is food, ammunition, medicines or clothes, clearly indicates that they were of Pakistani manufactured and origin. The terrorists were heavily armed and they had enough food to last several days," he had said.
Another report in Dawn said that home minister Rajnath Singh "immediately" blamed Pakistan for the attack and then quickly shifted the focus to the violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir. "Almost daily protests against the Indian rule and India’s ruthless use of force to stop the protests have drawn international attention, causing almost every major human rights organisation to demand access to the Valley," said the report.
The report also talked about how India is expected to raise the Balochistan issue in the United Nations General Assembly and said that Pakistan was likely to respond by claiming that it was India, in fact, which was "responsible for promoting militancy in Balochistan".
It is ironic that the report does not mention the fact that India has made similar allegations against Pakistan when it comes to the Kashmir issue. Pakistan has always criticised India for the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir but India has said that it is Pakistan which is sponsoring terrorism in the Valley.
Another article in Dawn said that "India’s automatic blaming of Pakistan for major violence in that country is very much a part of the problem."
Similar words were used against India in a report in The Express Tribune, which called India's allegations against Pakistan a "knee-jerk reaction". Another article in Pakistan Observer titled 'Also expose Indian interference at UNGA' said, "India misses no opportunity to malign Pakistan at international forums and for this purpose resorts to all sort of rhetoric and baseless allegations. It is time for Pakistan to veraciously expose the double face of India."
While certain sections of the Indian media did indeed spew vitriol against Pakistan, these articles show that certain sections in the Pakistani media are also as nasty and jingoistic, if not more.
As Akshaya Mishra writes in this Firstpost article, "To handle the matter, the (Indian) government requires a policy more than rhetoric. And every policy requires a sense of discretion. Those involved must display it by keeping the bunch of chest-thumping patriots out of the scene."
Maybe Pakistan needs to adopt the same attitude.
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Sep 19, 2016 13:34 IST