Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Terror groups from Pakistan have changed their strategy post-air strikes

AKkkB_frame_506 (002)The death of two persons and injuries to 27 others in a grenade blast at the Jammu bus stand on Thursday clearly points to a shift in the strategy of terror outfits and their handlers sitting across the border after India carried out sir strikes deep inside Pakistan.

They used a modus operandi in which it was impossible to prevent such an attack. A Kashmiri teenager with a red coloured rucksack on his back reaches Jammu from Srinagar by bus, throws the grenade under a bus, and then takes a bus ride back. Fortunately the color CCTV footage identified him, and the Jammu police nabbed him at the Nagrota check post within hours. The attacker claims that he was asked by a Hizbul Mujahideen commander to carry out this heinous job.

No amount of surveillance can prevent such attacks and the credit must go to Jammu and Kashmir police for nabbing the attacker in a span of four hours.

I would like to repeat what I had said a week back. Such terrorists mix with the common people, carry out their perfidious acts and then escape taking advantage of the crowd. It is not possible for the police or security agencies to nab such terrorists. The public at large must keep their eyes and ears open and watch for any suspicious person or activity. They must immediately inform the police to prevent such attacks. We should remember why Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that if 130 crore Indians remain ever vigilant, terrorists can never achieve their objectives.

I shall now mention an unfortunate incident that took place in Lucknow.

Some self-styled saffron activists beat up two Kashmiri traders selling dry fruits on a pavement, but were stopped due to timely intervention by a local citizen. The act of a handful of such people makes 130 crore Indians hang their heads in shame. The video of such hooligans thrashing Kashmiris became viral on the social media and bought a bad name to our country. Pakistan misuses these videos for its own benefit and terrorists use them to brainwash teenagers in Kashmir to instill a sense of hatred towards India.

Such hooligans must be given a severe and exemplary punishment and videos of such punishment should be forwarded on social media so that such fanatics may fear while committing such acts in future. The world can then see that India is a country that upholds the rights of all its citizens, irrespective of religion, caste, gender or class.
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Pakistan enacting a farce in the name of sealing Jaish, LeT offices

AK(002)India TV on Wednesday night showed exclusive visuals of how Pakistani authorities were sealing offices of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Toiba in Lahore after the recent ban and allowing their cadres to lie low for a few weeks. We have also shown statements from senior Pakistani leaders who are openly saying that this action is purely temporary.

The Army spokesman’s claim takes the cake. Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the Pakistani army spokesman, said at a briefing on Wednesday that Jaish-e-Mohammed does not exist in his country after the recent ban.

Clearly, Pakistan is under intense international pressure to take action against terror outfits. The world has taken notice of the brutal suicide bombing in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred. Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s whereabouts are not being officially acknowledged, and his brother and son and 42 other leaders have been rounded up, only to be taken into ‘protective custody’.

India does not trust Pakistan’s words and actions. After 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the Pathankot air base strike, similar actions were taken against terror outfits, but soon afterwards these terror masterminds and their henchmen came out in the open and carried on with their nefarious terror activities. The only difference this time after the Pulwama attack is that Indian aircraft entered Pakistani airspace, decimated the terror camp on Pakistani soil, and the world stood by India on the issue of terrorism.

Soon after the Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan, anticipating a major strike, sent all the Jaish terrorists and huddled them inside the camp in Balakote, which was made a target by Indian Air Force on February 26. Indian intelligence agencies had gathered information about terrorists and their sympathizers making calls to Balakote, and on the basis of these info, the plan to target Balakote was prepared. Our air force hit the target perfectly and it was almost 80 per cent success, and this was later proved from other evidences gathered by our intelligence agencies.

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Putting Jaish chief’s brother, son into ‘preventive custody’ is a classic Pakistani ploy

AKB_frame_22509 (002)Under growing pressure from international community, Pakistan on Tuesday announced that it has taken Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s brother and son into ‘protective custody’ along with 42 others. The neighbouring country also put Jamaat ud Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, frontal outfits of Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed on the list of banned terror outfits.

Masood’s brother Abdul Rauf Asghar was the man who planned the IC-814 Kandahar hijacking in 1999, and he now runs the terror operations for Jaish. Masood Azhar’s son Hamad and brother Rauf figure in the dossier submitted by India after the Pulwama terror attack. However the name of Jaish chief is missing from the list, though there are reports that he may also be arrested any time soon. Pakistan’s Home Secretary has added a rider: these terrorists taken into custody could be released if the evidences submitted by India are not found actionable.

Pakistan’s actions against homegrown terrorists have been mostly of a cosmetic nature, to say the least. After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed and his colleagues were put under protective custody. Hafiz Saeed challenged the order in court, the government’s advocate failed to appear in court and the Lashkar-e-Toiba chief was released.

There are also reports that Pakistan government is planning to induct all home grown terrorists from Jaish and Lashkar into its paramilitary forces. Reports say, the plan was prepared in December last year, but because of acute financial crisis, the plan was then shelved. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has now decided to induct these terrorists into paramilitary forces, so that they can move around freely in uniform, and Pakistan can save itself from international opprobrium.

Meanwhile, the litany of lies from Pakistan continues. On Tuesday, Pakistan Navy claimed that it forced an Indian submarine from approaching its coast. This was promptly rejected by Indian Navy as baseless. We in India should remain alert about such spurious claims, because the enemy is resorting to lies and calumny to shore up its dwindling prestige.

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Pakistan is spinning lies, one after another

baat_frame_64791 (002)On February 26, when 12 Indian Air Force Mirage jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakote of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, more than 50 km inside Pakistan, Pakistani army spokesman told the world that there was no camp at the spot, and the ‘smart bombs’ that IAF jets delivered had fallen on open ground, and damaged only a few trees. The next day the Pakistani army conducted a press party to the spot and produced ‘tutored’ villagers who said there was not much damage in the area. The logical question is: Had there been not widespread damage, why did the Pakistan Air Force then tried to carry out a counter air-strike near the Line of Control the next day?

The lies are being exposed, one by one. Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s brother recently issued an audio message admitting that IAF planes attacked their camp, while sources in the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), a technical intelligence agency under the PM’s National Security Adviser, have revealed that there were more than 300 cellphones ‘active’ at the spot, on the night the IAF raid took place. It is a clear piece of evidence that not less than 300 Jaish operatives and their handlers were presumably present inside that camp that night, and all signs of the terror camp were removed by the Pakistani army soon after the air strike.

Pakistan’s second lie was that its F-16 fighter jet was not downed by IAF near the Line of Control the next day. On Thursday, senior Indian Air Force officers showed in Delhi, the broken pieces of AMRAAM missile, that can only be fitted to an F-16 jet. Pakistan has been suppressing news about the death of its own pilot who was flying the ill-fated F-16 jet. It has refused to accept that its pilot is dead. A day earlier, the Pakistani army spokesman had claimed that two IAF pilots were killed, but later the spokesman reduced the number from two to one on his Twitter handle.

The third lie that Pakistani social media peddled on March 4 was that IAF jets sent a missile near Fort Abbas in the Cholistan desert of Pakistan. Still pictures and video of the missile were circulated. Later the Indian Air Force announced that its Sukhoi jet has shot down a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that was hovering on the Pakistani side.

Spinning lies and then peddling them on media has been a standard trait of the Pakistani army establishment. What can one say when Pakistan, which is home to the largest number of terrorists and terror outfits, claims that it is itself a victim of terror? What can one say about Pakistan, which sends ‘non-state actors’ to carry out terror strikes in India, and then demands ‘actionable evidence’?

My view is that, a rogue country like Pakistan should never be allowed to live in peace, so long as its army does not uproot all the terror camps that it has been nurturing. It is in this context that our Air Force Chief ACM B. S. Dhanoa said on March 4 that the current operation against terror camps in Pakistan is ‘ongoing’.
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Keep up the pressure, Pakistan can never be trusted

Aaj ki baatOn Friday night at around 9.21 pm, Pakistan handed over our Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan at the Wagah border, but before making this humanitarian gesture, it circulated a video of Abhinandan, in which the IAF prisoner, clearly under duress, was made to “praise” the treatment meted out by his captors, and as an added dose, he was made to criticize the Indian media. This shoddy piece of cheap PR was done by the Pakistani army to gain brownie points, and the video itself showed more than three dozen cuts. The video was chopped to pieces, and badly edited.

As India salutes and welcomes back her brave warrior who downed a Pakistani F16 jet fighter, questions arise about the intentions of Pakistan in the current round of hostilities.

I would like to mention here an incident from our epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama waited on the seashore for several days, praying to the Sea God to allow access to his Vanara Sena (army of monkeys) to launch attack on the demon king Ravana’s kingdom Lanka. There was no response from the Sea God. Finally, an angry Lord Rama took out his bow and arrows to aim at the sea, vowing to vaporize the sea. The Ramayana notes that the Sea God, in a frightened state, appeared, and with folded hands appealed to Rama not to vaporize the sea, and willingly offered access to the Vanara Sena.

The moral of the story: Rod is the logic of fools (‘Laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahin mantey’) Till now, Pakistan had been carrying out terror attacks in India, and we used to make appeals to Pakistan to desist from harbouring terrorists. The entire narrative changed after the Pulwama terror attack. They killed 40 of our CRPF jawans, and we decided to strike back, deep inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. After we decimated their terror camp, Pakistan is now speaking the language of peace and offering dialogue.

My view is very clear: India need not show forgiveness or mercy to those who have caused mayhem on our soil. Pakistan was never trustworthy in the past, and it cannot be trusted now, nor in the future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands this clearly and he has already made up his mind. Any big terror attack, and India will strike back. He has got the support of most of the world’s big powers on this point. It is time to salute the strong leadership of our Prime Minister and also laud the valour displayed by our Armed Forces. The bravery and valour of our jawans, our officers, our pilots, our navy personnel, our border guards shall always remain etched in the memory of Indians. Forever.


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No talks with Pakistan unless it takes credible action against terrorists

akb_frame_80504In the last three days, Indian Air Force decimated a major camp of Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed deep inside their territory, and foiled attacks by PAF jets on our brigade HQ in Kashmir and forced them to flee. India exerted tremendous international pressure and forced Pakistan to release our IAF pilot Abhinandan. Indian army exposed Pakistan’s lies and showed to the world how it used F-16 jets for attack against Indian military installations in clear contravention of the promise it made to the US not to use F-16 for military action against India.

The question that is now being asked is whether India should accept the peace offer from Pakistan and start dialogue. On this issue, my view is very clear. India can start dialogue only if Pakistan takes credible action against terror outfits on its soil and hands over the masterminds of 26/11, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama attacks, Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar to India. Only then can both countries initiate any fruitful round of talks, otherwise it will be back to square one.

History is witness how Pakistan trained and sent terrorists to cause mayhem on Indian soil, and then always spoke about peace and offered talks. The pet dialogues are the same; only those who delivered these dialogues were different – Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Musharraf and now Imran Khan.

How can we forget the 2006 train blasts which killed hundreds of innocent people in Mumbai? How can we forget the 2013 brutal beheadings of our soldiers on Line of Control? How can we forgive those terrorists and their handlers who caused mayhem in Mumbai during the 26/11 attacks? How can we forget the terror attacks in Uri? In Pathankot? And, the latest in Pulwama where 40 CRPF jawans were killed by a maniac suicide bomber trained in Pakistan?

On every occasion, it was Pakistan which caused mayhem and bloodshed, and then offered peace. How can India trust Imran Khan’s words? The same drama was enacted, over and over again. The only difference this time is that Imran Khan is now facing a leader like Narendra Modi.

I clearly remember how Modi said in ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ show that we should stop writing “love letters” to Pakistan, and “we should respond to Pakistan in their own language”. With the surgical strike in 2017 and the spectacular air strike in Balakote this week, Modi has repaid Pakistan with the same coin.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is now making peace overtures to Modi, first through television and then via telephone, but our Prime Minister’s intention is very clear. Modi is of the firm opinion that if Pakistan fails to clear away the training camps of terrorism on its own soil, India will enter its space and eliminate the terrorists and their trainers. India will destroy terror camps inside Pakistan.

The ball is now in Imran Khan’s court. Imran will have to decide: when and how Pakistan will change for the better.


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