By Gautam Datt
New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) From telephoning Kashmiri separatists directly to raising the issue of alleged human rights violations with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s so-called peace rush has quickly turned into a bloody push.
The coverage of the Pulwama terror attack in Pakistan media has gone viral in India with the headline of a prominent daily there terming the suicide bomber who killed 49 CRPF troopers as “freedom fighter” and describing the bloodbath as a fightback against the “occupied Kashmir” has sparked public outrage in India.
As India is said to be mulling military options claiming its right to respond, one can piece together a series of gestures by the Imran Khan government in the run up to the Pulwama attack.
A diplomatic spat was already on between the two sides as New Delhi took strong objections to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi calling up Kashmiri separatists. He also led a Kashmir solidarity event in London which was strongly opposed by India.
Qureshi had given away the design behind the goodwill gesture of opening up of the Kartarpur corridor, terming the move as a “googly”.
Imran Khan talked about India treating its minorities as second class citizens, inviting a strong rebuke from New Delhi.
Behind the scenes, officials said here, Islamabad is working on a carefully crafted strategy to bleed India. India’s assessment is that Imran Khan is driving the policy dictated by the country’s powerful military establishment that helped him to become the Prime Minister.
The Pakistani military has planned to raise the bar in Jammu and Kashmir by introducing suicide bombings, a tactic which is also being used in Iran.
As Indian security agencies found uncanny similarities between the suicide attack in Pulwama and Iran, Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying that the Pakistan government supported the group behind the recent suicide bombing in Iran.
If Pakistan has raised the bar in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian agencies are preparing for escalation by exploring all the options including precision air strikes against terrorist launch pads inside Pakistani territory or another round of surgical operation.