The attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on Thursday has sent ripples of shock through the country and the international community. At least 40 personnel of the CRPF were killed and several were injured when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kilograms of explosives into the security forces' bus. "There are no survivors from the bus," PTI quoted an official as saying, who added that they were yet to ascertain exactly how many people were on the bus.
Soon after JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, India slammed Pakistan and asked the neighbouring country to stop supporting terrorists and dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its soil. India also strongly reiterated its appeal to all members of the international community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, and to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan.
Pakistan's Foreign Office, after keeping quiet for hours, issued a statement after midnight. The attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir "is a matter of grave concern," it said. "We have always condemned heightened acts of violence in the Valley," the Foreign Office said. Pakistan also rejected that it was in any way involved in the attack.
"We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to the State of Pakistan without investigations," the Foreign Office added.
Pakistan media had a wide coverage of the Thursday's Pulwama attack in "India-occupied-Kashmir" with several publications carrying editorials and reports about India's effort to isolate Pakistan by pinning the blame on its estranged neighbour.
'Freedom fighter launches attack,' reports Pakistani media
Publications in Pakistan aimed to highlight "India's attempts to isolate" the country globally by blaming it for terror incidents, and also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of creating an impression as "keen for good relations" while painting Pakistan to be the "spoiler". The media also said that the Indian government had used the strained relations with Pakistan as a smokescreen to distract the public away from "dissatisfaction with other issues".
The police identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmed Dar, who was hailed as a "freedom fighter" by The Nation. Ahmed joined the terrorist outfit in March 2018, reports said. Dar recorded a video to condemn the worldly pleasures and glorify war, soon after which, he carried out the attack.
A report by The Nation said, "Refusing to bow down to the ever-increasing Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir, the freedom fighters on Thursday struck back hard at the occupational forces when a car bomb ripped through an Indian military convoy killing 44 soldiers and injuring dozens of others on Srinagar-Jammu highway in Awantipora area of Pulwama district."
Despite the terror outfit publicly taking responsibility for the attack, the publication said that the Indian government was trying "to give the incident (the) terrorism colour" and added that New Delhi was "trying to take the credit (for the attack) away from the valiant Kashmiri youth". The report quoted a JeM spokesperson as saying that the outfit had "nothing to do with it".
The report quoted a Kashmir-based journalist, Bashir Manzar as saying that "the bombing would boost the morale of the freedom fighters and that it contradicted claims of the situation in Kashmir being brought under control." The Nation also noted the protests by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and other Hurriyat workers against civilian deaths in the Valley.
Dawn reported that Pakistan has consistently denied India's charge of "fuelling the uprising that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead" by saying that only "diplomatic support" is provided to Kashmir's "right to self-determination" by Islamabad. "Kashmiris have been fighting for an independent Kashmir, or a merger with Pakistan since 1989," the report added.
The publication also carried an editorial written by Touqir Hussain, a former ambassador and adjunct faculty at US universities, which said that India's foreign policy on Pakistan was that of "contempt". Hussain claims that Modi furthered a policy of hostility towards Pakistan for India's economic and developmental self-interests, adding that "...the Pakistan policy represents the historical Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh view of Muslims, Pakistan and Kashmir."
"Tensions with Pakistan have always served to move general populace away from dissatisfaction on other issues," Hussain said, adding, "Modi knows the power of the visual for modern media. The invitation to Nawaz Sharif to his (Modi's) swearing-in ceremony and the air dash to Lahore on Sharif’s birthday in December 2015 had a dramatic impact internationally, especially in Washington. It showed Modi as keen for good relations, and Pakistan as a spoiler."
Hussain concludes that India's efforts to "conjure" up an image of a peacemaker for the international community, "...serves, among other purposes, India’s attempts at isolating Pakistan and keeping it off balance, limiting its diplomacy on Kashmir. Modi’s brutal repression of Kashmiris has no room for compromise; hence no compulsion for dialogue."
The Nation also carried an editorial written by Rehman Malik, a senator, who stated that it was "strange" that Modi was pointing fingers at Pakistan, while "being the face of the RSS" in India. "It is strange that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is propagating against Pakistan, alleging the charges of money laundering, terror financing and other false allegations whereas he himself is face of an internationally notorious terrorist organisation namely RSS operating in whole of India under the patronage of Modi.
"It is universally known fact that RSS is being funded by State of India under Modi," the editorial said. Malik also draws attention to "Indian spy" Kulbhushan Yadav saying that the international court trying the case should "set a precent" against the murders of "innocent Pakistanis" by rejecting Yadav's mercy petition.
Pakistan Today also carried an editorial which aimed to highlight the "fate of Kashmiris" at the hands of the Indian government and security forces. The writer, Mohm Azmi Abdul Hamid, said that the human rights violations against "Kashmiri Muslims" was largely ignored and unreported internationally. "The enemies of Islam directed their efforts in manipulating and creating global perception by stereotyping Islam with terrorism leading to prejudiced behaviour towards Muslims," the editorial says.
Hamid cites a UN Council of Human Rights (UNCHR) report dated 14 June, 2018 to point out that "the genocide since (1947) had led to the death of 300,000 to 500,000 Kashmiris Muslims."
Daily Times quoted Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala's tweet which said, "Zero political action and zero policy to tackle terror has led to an alarming security situation." The report said that the Congress leader "accused Modi of compromising on security".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 15, 2019 11:45:13 IST