Altaf Hussain Wani
Vice Chairman Jammu Kashmir National Front
The appointment of General Asim Munir as chief of the army staff has evoked a mixed response from within and outside the country. On the one hand, the new chief, who has many achievements to his name, is widely hailed as a good omen for Pakistan’s politics and democracy, while on the other, his elevation to the top slot has left many tongues wagging in the immediate neighbourhood-India where small-minded bigots sitting in the cosy TV studios have been spitting venom against the Pakistan army in particular the newly appointed chief of the army staff (COAS).
A change of command that happens to be a routine phenomenon in every army was projected by the Indian media as something unusual and uncustomary. As part of 5th Generation Warfare and propaganda against the Pakistani state institutions, a campaign was run in the media, wherein hack journalists and so-called defense analysts were seen discussing the new chief’s appointment with reference to the impact on Indo-Pak relations. Some were seen as highly obsessed with General Munir’s impeccable character and reputation within the army, while others were worried about him being a devout Muslim and a “Hafiz-e-Quran”. Unsurprisingly, the new chief was projected in some sections of the Indian media as a man who planned the “Pulwama Attack”.
Former RAW Specialist and a member of the National Security Advisory Board, Tilak Devasher, in an interview to ANI said, “It was under his (Lt Gen Munir’s) watch that the Pulwama attack took place and he was DG of the ISI in November and this happened in February 2019. Devasher said that Gen. Munir also served in the areas in the core that overlooks or deals with Kashmir in India.
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, wrote in the same derogatory language saying “A General in the Pakistan Army has to prove his strong anti-India credentials. Munir has proved this through his role as the ISI chief in February 2019 when the Pulwama terrorist attacks took place, killing 40 CRPF personnel”.
Though this smear campaign against the new chief was initiated soon after, the former ISI chief’s name figured in the list of the top five generals who were in the running for the top slot of the Pakistan Army. But, this vicious vilifying and propaganda campaign against him gained traction in the media since he paid his maiden visit to the LoC, where he reiterated his country’s demand for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in line with the UN resolutions and Pakistan’s armed forces’ unwavering commitment to defend the country’s ideological and geographical frontiers.
Taking strong exception to highly irresponsible statements from the Indian leadership on Gilgit Baltistan and Jammu and Kashmir, Gen. Munir warned India against any misadventure. With no ifs and buts, the army chief, in a direct reference to India said, “Let me make it categorically clear, Pakistan’s armed forces are always ready, not only to defend every inch of our motherland, but to take the fight back to the enemy, if ever, war is imposed on us”.
Referring to the Pakistan army’s high standard operational preparedness, he said that the Pak army was fully prepared to thwart any misadventure on the eastern front. “India will never succeed in tis nefarious designs and any misadventure will be responded with the full might of our armed forces backed by a resilient nation”, he warned.
Spelling out his country’s policy on the issue of Kashmir, Gen. Munir, in a short but precise manner, reminded the world of its legal and moral obligations vis-à-vis the settlement of the long-pending Kashmir dispute that has now assumed dangerous proportions. “The world must ensure justice and deliver what is promised to the Kashmiri people as per the UN resolutions”, the general said.
The army chief’s crystal clear and categorical statement, which reflected Pakistan’s commitment and its uncompromising stance on the issue, has certainly baffled the Indians who have been spreading lies to create cobwebs of confusion around the Kashmir issue. The timely statement has not cleared the propaganda of freezing Kashmir for 20 years but it has revitalized and rejuvenated the passion of the freedom-loving people of Kashmir who have been scripting a new history of resistance while fighting against the Indian occupation forces.
The courageous stand taken by the Pakistan Army chief on Kashmir has put to rest the rumours about a plot to defer the plebiscite in Kashmir until the next 20 years. The fact remains that no Pakistani politician or army officer can even think of betraying Kashmiris. The Kashmir issue is so deeply linked with the sentiments of the common masses of Pakistan that no government can even dare to compromise on it.
The Pakistan army as an institution has a long history of standing in support and solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir, who consider Pakistan and its armed forces as their saviours. The Kashmiri people firmly believe that, whatever circumstances, Pakistan will never leave them in the lurch. Its consistent and continued support of the Kashmiris’ legitimate cause has always been a source of great strength and encouragement to the people of the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Despite facing a myriad of challenges, the army has never shied away from calling a spade a spade. The military leadership believes that Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition of the subcontinent, which it believes should be resolved in line with the UN Security Resolutions. This is the reason that General Asim Munir, while referring to settlement of the Kashmir problem, made a special mention of these resolutions that, besides acknowledging the Kashmiris’ inalienable right, provide a comprehensive mechanism to resolve the dispute peacefully.
It goes without saying that on the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has always been one page. Every government in Pakistan, irrespective of political affiliations, has selflessly promoted the Kashmir cause, besides highlighting the Kashmiris’ plight at home and abroad.
It is this fearless advocacy of the Kashmir cause by the Pakistani civilian/military leadership that kept the issue of Kashmir alive despite India’s malicious attempts to remove Kashmir from the Security Council’s agenda.
Pakistan believes that a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute in line with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people is the only way forward to resolve this dispute peacefully. The Pakistani state being a legitimate party has every right to lend its aid and support to the Kashmiris’ indigenous struggle for right to self-determination. Sadly, India has been organizing all sorts of campaigns to malign Pakistan and its state institutions (army and ISI) before the international community to force her to rescind its support for the Kashmir cause.
–The author is a civil and Political Rights Activist and can be reached at ; email@example.com