By Brig N K Bhatia
There is clairvoyance in Indo-Pak relations about Pakistan’s anti-India agenda that is difficult to obfuscate. Its support to anti-India activities is well documented and well recognised. The latest in a series of such hostile actions are bizarre accusations of False Flag operations against itself that merits attention. The reasons given for India to launch false flag operations are equally bizarre and keep changing every time it makes the bogey of false flag.
The first reference to false flag operations by India against Pakistan was made by its Prime Minister Imran Khan in a Twitter post on 23 August 2019 when he attributed the reasons for his fear as Indian accusations for some terrorists from Afghanistan having entered J&K for terrorist activities. He also claimed that the operation would be launched to divert international attention from Indian actions in J&K.
Thereafter the accusations of false flag operations became too frequent and reached its nadir during from May 2020 beginning again with a Twitter message again by its Prime Minister on 06 May 2020 which stated as follows “I have been warning the world about India’s continuing efforts to find a pretext for a false flag operation targeting Pakistan. Latest baseless allegations by India of ‘infiltration’ across LoC is a continuation of this dangerous agenda.”This time the reasons for false flag had changed; terrorists from Afghan to infiltration across LoC.
False flag operations by India seems to be the pet theme of Pakistani establishment to imply that India would resort to false flag actions every time there has been a terrorist-related incident to accuse Pakistan to send across a message to internal and external audiences.
From making such calls once or twice a year earlier, Pakistani establishment from Prime Minister to Foreign Minister, Railway minister and Inter-Services Public Relation spokesman have made several calls of an impending false flag operation by India.
In the latest message of false flag attack by India it’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated on 24 June that “India’s mood is clear as it wants to divert attention from its border dispute with China to Pakistan,”, adding that India was finding excuses to launch a false flag operation against Pakistan. Incidentally the statement was made in the aftermath of India’s decision to cut diplomatic strength from in one another’s countries by half.
As is amply clear the reasons for false flag threat keep changing and are reflective of a confused and regressive mind set aimed at appropriating insinuations to India without any basis of facts.
Pakistan leadership’s false flag syndrome is an outcome of uncertainty and fear psychosis emanating from lack of confidence in their own capabilities to govern. It is also an outcome of the baggage of the past, having nurtured and supported non-state actors as part of state policy
The concept of the false flag comes under the domain of conspiracy theory wherein an operation conducted by one party or government is made to appear as though it were sponsored by another party or government.
False flag operations have been a part of statecraft since ancient times. But times have changed and no country, especially a democratic one, with an ever-alert fourth estate will resort to such an agenda. Although authoritarian and monotheistic states have never shied away from such operations if it furthers their interests. Without naming any state we have witnessed plenty of false flag operations in the recent past.
Pakistan itself has been a practitioner of false flag operations since long. Due to a long history of having nurtured state (read Pakistan Army) controlled proxies it has conducted and continues to conduct false flag operations with impunity in its own, restive areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Its earlier such operations in Sind against MQM and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, are well known and documented.
Pakistan’s desperation has been growing since 2019 when India laid out clear red lines and demonstrated its will to execute its policy statements with actions like trans-border surgical strikes and airstrikes like at Balakote. The Pakistan Deep State and chiefly its Army has been at their wits end trying to come up with an effective counter to pursue their policy of “bleeding India with a 1000 cuts”.
Today Pakistan stands discredited in world fora due to pursuing an unstable anti-terrorism narrative. It continues to actively provide support and safe sanctuaries to terrorist outfits heavens such as Haqqani network and its affiliates having direct linkages with Al Qaeda. On the other hand, it portrays itself as a victim of terrorism, little realising that these are an outcome of its own devious outlook and game plan has gone horribly wrong. International opinion is against Pakistan and even its most trusted friend, China has not been able to get it off from the FATF grey list due to its continued support to terrorist funding.
No country takes Pakistan seriously when it tries to project itself as a victim of terrorism. Similarly, it is unlikely it will be taken seriously when it tries to portray itself as a victim of false flag operations. Pakistan is desperate and it reflects in its statements and actions of peddling half-truths and lies. Never the less India needs to sit up and take notice of a false and malicious agenda being pushed by Pakistan against India and its entities.
(The author is an Indian Army Veteran. Views expressed are personal.)