From Line of Control to Working Boundary

The Indian aim and objective is to damage Pakistan not only from eastern side but also from the western through its proxies based in Afghanistan

India still has not accepted Pakistan’s existence, as its foreign policy is Pakistan centric and is always busy in hatching conspiracies to damage its western neighbour. The Indian aim and objective is to damage Pakistan not only from eastern side but also from the western through its proxies based in Afghanistan. At the same time, India is also trying to influence Iran to create misunderstandings with Pakistan.

The length of Pakistan’s border with India is 3133 kilometres which include 700 kilometres of LOC, 193 kilometres of Working Boundary and 2240 kilometres of International Border. The ceasefire line was signed between the two armies in 1949 sponsored by UNCIP (United Nation Commission in India and Pakistan). During 1972, Shimla Agreement ceasefire line was renamed as the Line of Control (LOC). Working Boundary is the line where Indian Occupied Kashmir (Jammu) touches Pakistan’s border (Sialkot). The Working Boundary is 193 kilometres long in the Sialkot sector. The Working Boundary is temporarily marked by drums for the maintenance of status quo and it is never surveyed. The International border with India starts from a village Abial Dogar (Narowal) to Arabian Sea. It is jointly surveyed by Pakistan Rangers with Indian Border Security force (BSF).

Pakistan and Indian border is considered as one of the most dangerous borders of the world. Pakistan has fought three wars, battled India at Siachen Glacier and the Kargil war was the first armed conflict after conducting of nuclear tests. India has heavily fortified its border with Pakistan. There is a strong fencing system which is humanly not possible to negotiate. India is further fortifying the existing fence system by smart fencing system, an idea and help borrowed from Israel. This project will be in place by March this year in front of Sialkot opposite Jammu.

With an impregnable fencing system followed by fortified bunkers in place, it is astonishing how India continues to blame Pakistan for infiltrations

The basic objective of installing smart fencing is to monitor Working Boundary round the clock with technology thus minimising human employment to check so-called infiltration from Pakistan. India is also planning to laser fence the border at pre-selected areas. A laser fence detects an object and sets off a loud siren in case of breach. The border between Pakistan and India can be seen from the space because it is lit with floodlights at night. With such an impregnable fencing system followed by fortified bunkers, it is impossible to infiltrate the border. India is continuously violating the ceasefire agreement, agreed between the two countries in 2003, along LOC and WB by unprovoked firing and shelling which results into killing of innocent civilians — mostly children and women. In the last couple of years, the violations have increased manifold.

Certainly, it is state policy which is evident from the statements of Indian political leaders and army chief. The reason behind India’s continuous violation of ceasefire along LoC and Working Boundary is firstly, diverting world attention from atrocities and gross human rights violations against Kashmiris and secondly, to present Pakistan to international community as a state sponsoring insurgency in the Indian-held Kashmir by sending Mujahideen. Thirdly, shifting focus of domestic Indian audience on to Pakistan rather than itself.

India is in habit of false propaganda for the consumption of its domestic audience and region to demonstrate its might. This was done in case of their so-called surgical strike in September 2016 on so-called terror camps along LOC which proved to be totally false and baseless. It is not possible for the Indian foot soldiers to cross the LOC, hit a target and return alive. In my personal experience as a Commander Chenab Rangers (Sialkot), BSF resorted to unprovoked firing along Working Boundary several times.

The Indian BSF always resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling whenever an International leader visited India or during a national event of India with the aim to present Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. Frequent meetings are normally held between Pakistan Rangers and Indian BSF at platoon, company, wing and sector commander level to discuss issues at local levels depending upon the prevailing situation in the area. Biannual meetings at Director General’s level are also organised alternatively in Pakistan and India. In these meetings, issues of border crossings, unprovoked firing, smuggling and defence construction are discussed.

The Indian side always raised the so-called infiltration of Working Boundary but without any evidence. I conveyed on several occasion to my counterparts that it is even difficult for a cat to negotiate such a fortified defensive system. Unfortunately, the Indian army continuously targets villages including Bajwat, Chaprar, Charwah, Bajargarhi, Harpal, Kundanpur, Thathi and Zafarwal-Shakargarh sectors. The main disadvantage for us is that majority of our villages are located on zero-line. Pakistan is ready to resume meaningful dialogue with India to resolve all issues including the core issue of Kashmir.

Pakistan is committed to observing 2003 ceasefire agreement. There is no doubt that Kashmir is our Jugular vein as the dispute has to be resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris in line with UNSC resolutions. It is important that 2003 ceasefire agreement must be revived to protect innocent lives. Let there be no doubt that Pakistan would respond with full force as Pakistan is prepared to repel any Indian aggression. United Nation Commission in India and Pakistan must send its fact-finding mission to report and investigate continuous ceasefire violation along the Working Boundary.

The writer is a retired brigadier and currently commissioner of the Afghan Refugees Organisation, Balochistan

Published in Daily Times, March 4th 2018.