A weak army uses human shield, a strong one stays committed to avoid harming civilians

Pakistan Army uses human shields in PoK

Pakistan state, non-state actors with arms systematically embedded in civilian areas of POK is no new discovery. In fact its a very well established perennial modus operandi and very much part of the Pakistan army doctrine. The truth is that these villages are designed to serve as battlefields with command, control posts, lookout points, weapon depots and snipers in the heart of well protected civilian centers, such as mosques, schools, and hospitals, with total disregard to civilian life. All this is part of the dirty tactics which unfortunately has the approval of their Pakistan military top brass. Such practices are against the military ethos of any professional army, however, Pakistan Army without batting an eyelid has repeatedly exploited and undermined the human rights of the innocent locals and made Kashmiris along LoC scapegoats.

Total disregard for the military ethos

Pakistan Army’s heavy deployment in Kahuta border village along LoC

Much against military ethos, Pakistan Army has turned its integration within the population into a strategic advantage, in a way that is illegal, immoral and knowingly leads to the death of innocent civilians. The embedding of militants and weapons into their populated surroundings and the intentional use of civilians and civilian infrastructure as a shield for military activities constitute grave violations of the international law. However, such a set up serves the following purpose for the Pakistan Army: propaganda advantage hides vulnerability of Pakistan Army, provides a sort of immunity by using civilians as human shields, knowing about their adversaries commitment to avoid harming civilians.

Aerial photographs revealed in The Sunday guardian show that in Kahuta village in PoK, Pakistan army has installed 82mm and 120mm mortar guns bang in the middle of Kahuta village surrounded by houses belonging to civilians. This is the case in almost all the villages along the LoC in PoK. The photograph of the site reveals that the mortar guns have been placed in such a manner that if there is retaliation to Pakistani firing coming from these mortar guns, the Kashmiri civilians living in this village will be exposed to shelling due to proximity with the Pakistani army positions. This will result in civilian deaths and damage to civilian property as collateral, thus giving the statesmen in Pakistan the opportunity to discredit Indian Army. It is shameful that Pakistan army is using Kashmiris in PoK as human shields and non-state actors as infiltrators for their vested interest in Kashmir valley.

Pakistan Army exploiting  Kashmiris to survive

Village Kahuta on LoC

As a matter of fact, Pakistan Army is shamelessly thriving on the Kashmir issue for its own survival. To keep up its popularity amongst its populace so that it can continue robing its taxpayers Pakistan Army is busy carrying out unscrupulous practices along LoC at the cost of Kashmiris along the LoC. Success from such propaganda and stage management probably helps them boost their troop morale which otherwise has only tasted defeat in the past.

Pakistan Army akin to Hezbollah,  in direct contravention with international laws

The use of the Kashmiri civilian population of PoK as a living shield and viewing the Kashmiri civilian population across the LoC as the primary target for the enormous mortar rocket arsenal deployed in these villages is considered as war crimes under international law. A parallel can be drawn with Hezbollah, a covert terrorist organization which has constructed a broad, advanced, comprehensive military infrastructure within densely populated areas of south Lebanon operating in direct contravention of international laws.

Hezbollah’s exploitation of Lebanese residents as human shields for its military infrastructure was well-illustrated during the second Lebanon war. It carried out stubborn urban fighting and launched thousands of rockets at cities and towns across the Blue Line from close proximity. The revelation of aerial photos in public domain once again unmasks Pakistan Army’s plans of turning many villages into ground-fighting arenas, cynically exploiting the local civilian population.

Similarly, Pakistan Army’s use of human shields is a gross violation of international law. The Geneva Conventions, which establish standards of international law for the protection of civilians in a war zone, specifically prohibit the use of civilians as human shields. Article 58 of the Conventions’ Additional Protocols requires parties to a conflict to “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.”

It’s a tragedy that these Kashmiris will be mercilessly knocked off as sitting ducks by Pakistan Army while Pakistan Army will pin their uniform with medals soaked in the blood of these innocent.

16 May 2018/Monday                                                     Written by