~By Dilip Bobb
Ever since the late lamented Zulfikar Ali Bhutto pledged that he would defeat India by inflicting a thousand cuts, Pakistan and India have been in a state of undeclared war. It takes many forms and proxies but it has escalated in recent weeks. Unhappy with the current state of play, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned a meeting of his top army officers for a briefing last week. Excerpts.
Nawaz Sharif: I am not happy with the results of our last few encounters with India. It has bordered on being embarrassing. The public is angry and asking questions about leadership and team spirit. What seems to be the problem?
General Ustaad: Sir, it looks like the enemy had far superior firepower. Our intelligence on their preparation, offensive capability and frontline forces was not adequate and some of our key strategies did not work out.
Sharif: This is not on. I am coming under fire for failing in my duties. The buck stops with me, as does the buk buk. Why is this happening under my watch? I was told we were going to win this battle. What has gone wrong?
General Bahadur: Mr Prime Minister, it is all to do with their new leader. He sticks out his chest, gives us the finger and is very aggressive. They have gone on the offensive. Under him, they plan surgical strikes that are demoralising our forces. He believes in taking no prisoners.
Sharif: I was given a briefing that showed we were the superior side. We had plenty of local support, strong throwing arms that were hitting the target and putting the Indians under pressure. Yet, when it comes to the crunch, we fail to make use of the opportunity…
General Mardaana: Sir, it looks like we were vulnerable in every area. They marshaled their troops better, employed better tactics, showed greater motivation and hit us hard before we could prepare our defences.
Sharif: Looking at the situation from here, it seems that we just could not affect any breakthroughs. They had every approach covered. How did we fail to read the situation on the ground?
General Shahid: Sir, there is a lot of media pressure regarding ourselves and the Indians. A lot of hype and hysteria is created. People expect us to perform miracles. They keep bringing up the boast by General Musharraf that one Pakistani is equal to 11 Indians. When it came to the actual engagement, it turned out to be the other way around.
Sharif: I was clearly misinformed. The intelligence reports I received said our forces were all fired up and ready to exploit Indian weaknesses. I was told we had a SWOT analysis, a SNOT analysis, an On the Spot analysis, so how did we allow this opportunity to slip through our fingers?
General Hoshiyaar: Sir, despite extensive training and enough acclimatisation in alien territory, I must confess we did allow many opportunities to slip through the fingers. Our initial attack was hostile enough and had the enemy on the back foot, but our boys failed to maintain the momentum.
Sharif: We have given you all the support required, financial, equipment, all the ammunition you need, yet we fall short of the final objective. What do the people on the ground have to say?
General Bakwas: Sir, when our men emerged from the tunnels, we discovered that terrain was like a minefield and it was extremely difficult to make progress and neutralize the enemy. They fought like tigers even though their national animal is supposed to be the cow. It was a Donald Trump moment for our jihad.
Sharif: What has Donald Trump got to do with the failure of our offensive?
General Bakwas: For our boys, it was meant to be a show of courage. Instead, by the end of the encounter, it was like a show of covfefe. Nobody can understand it.
Civilian Council Member: The occupation of Kashmir is our junoon and our taqdir. Death by a Thousand Cuts is what we are taught right from school. I am assuming as a civilian I was not informed of these encounters and the forces we employed across the LoC.
Sharif: Who’s talking about Kashmir? This is about Birmingham and the cricket team’s meek surrender to India. You know how much we hate losing to India; our GDP goes down, the markets crash, there is mass depression, the media looks for scapegoats and that damn Imran Khan gets prime time coverage. I called this meeting because in any crisis situation, you know we always call in the army.