Thursday, 28 February 2019

Daily Diary (DD) - Day 59 of 2019

1143hrs: From Poonch Sector
Madaarpur and Battal on the LOC witnessed Indian and Pakistani cross-firing throughout the night. This continued with mortar shelling in the morning. No report of any casualties as yet. 


The morning after an exhausting day yesterday. It could have been even more exhausting if I'd been involved in a current affairs debate on international media, as it looked likely at one stage.

Here's a late tweet that I wanted to embed in this diary yesterday:

Musafir setting - what remained of his camp - on fire yesterday:

This is an overview of his year long fight in AJK and Pakistan:

Mahmood Ahmed Musafir has never been a character who would allow anybody else to upstage him. Not even an India vs. Pakistan war in Jammu & Kashmir. 290 days of camping outside Islamabad Press Club in Pakistan drew to a close yesterday with that almost ceremonial burning of his camp. Yesterday also marked the end of one year of being on the road, fighting for public rights.

He needs a little rest now I would suggest, before beginning the next round of his struggle.

1329hrs: in Dadyaal
Pakistani aircraft continue hovering in the skies above......a lot of work is also being done on the propaganda front. A couple of hours ago I could hear people chanting slogans of "Pak Fauj - Zindabad" (Long live - the Pakistani army).

Here's a tune which in words exemplifies how Pakistan is celebrated using iconic Islamic metaphors, to create that important parallel. This lobby is a genuine constituency in AJK and amounts to roughly 25% of society, though it can slightly increase during these 'patriotic' times:

Art is a powerful tool to build or sustain a narrative: It works both ways though and about 75% of our society doesn't properly realise that.


Looking back on yesterday's event in the skies and on the ground near the LOC in AJK:

Interpreting what happens in real-time during a conflict - especially that between India and Pakistan in J & K - is not easy.

It now appears that the 2 Indian military aircrafts (MiG-21 Bison) were tailing 3 Pakistani military aircrafts (F-16), who according to Pakistani reports had dropped bombs in non-populated areas of Indian-controlled J & K. Apparently, this was just to give a message to the Indians that they could also do what the Indians did in Balakot. That in Pakistani terms was that the Indians had also dropped bombs on empty land.

In any case, an aerial dog-fight ensued and the 3 Pakistani F-16's were joined by another, or even 2 if reports by the Indians that they had shot down an F-16 were to be considered accurate, as they entered Pakistani-controlled airspace. The 2 Indian MiG-21's were shot at, one retreated as described yesterday when hit and ended up falling dozens of kilometres away in Indian-controlled airspace above Budgaam. The pilot or (2 pilots as some reports suggest) were already dead when the debris of the plane hit the ground.

The second Indian MiG-21 with the now famous wing commander Abhinandan ejected from the plane in time and landed by parachute in a local stream in Oraah, Poona (tehsil Smaahni). Having a close look at that initial video, where it appeared locals converged to lynch the pilot: those supposed locals seemed more like plain-clothed military personnel or intelligence operatives. Indeed, the guy punching him was also seen later (with ammo) escorting him alongside the Pakistani army in later photos.

Here's an example:

The gentleman on our right is the one who was punching him

I would like to identify him and am trying to do so. That will be difficult if he is military but we can still try.

There was a flurry of social media activity - from the Pakistani perspective - that local Kashmiris (or citizens of AJK) would have lynched him to death if the Pakistani army did not 'mercifully' intervene. I even apologised for my people, if indeed they were responsible for trying to lynch him.

Finally, the other Indian pilot who we were 'reliably' informed had been taken to CMH Rawalpindi, doesn't exist anymore as far as both Indian and Pakistani media are concerned.

We could still have further surprises ahead.     

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