Monday, December 5, 2022

Why Pakistan has accepted a LeT terrorist as one of its own?

LeT terrorist Tabrak Hussain

Chakkan Da Bagh in Poonch is an official crossing point to Rawalakote on the Pakistani side. A bus used to ply for many years, ferrying Poonch-Rawalakote passengers, but the service now stands discontinued. On Monday, it was an ambulance which went from the Indian side to meet Pakistani soldiers. It carried the body of Tabarak Hussain, a terrorist and agent of Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) group for handing over to the Pakistani authorities.

Hussain was a resident of Sabzkot village of Kotli in Pakistan Occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK). He was injured in an encounter on August 21 when he was trying to infiltrate to the Indian side. Two other terrorists who accompanied him fled back into Pakistani territory but he got injured and was captured alive. He was then taken to an Army hospital in Rajouri and operated for extricating bullets from his body. Indian soldiers gave three units of blood to him after undergoing the surgery.

Hussain, a Pakistani owing affiliation to LeT, had talked about his infiltration to the Indian side and having attacked an Indian post. This interview, given in a Rajouri military hospital after being operated, was carried by many TV stations and newspapers. He also gave details as to how he was asked by a Pakistani Colonel Yunus Choudhary to do the recce of some Indian posts in Nowshera sector. On August 21, he was asked by Col Choudhary to attack a particular post, along with two others.

After receiving injuries on August 21, LeT terrorist lived till September 3 (Saturday) when he suffered a cardiac arrest. Indian Army’s 80 Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier Kapil Rana said Hussain had been arrested, along with his brother Haroon Ali, in Nowshera sector in 2016. However, he was released after remaining for some months in the custody of Indian security forces on “humanitarian grounds’’.

What is significant is that this is for the first time ever that Pakistan has owned up that an infiltrator (terrorist) was its citizen. In the past for over 30 years, encounters have taken place regularly on Line of Control (LoC) with fatal casualties of Pakistani citizens. Till date, Pakistani authorities have neither accepted that those killed were its citizens nor accepted their bodies either. 

It is not clear as to why the Pakistan authorities have accepted the LeT operative’s body this time. Perhaps denying that Hussain was a Pakistani citizen was not possible as the records about him being arrested earlier also existed on the Indian side. 

Some Army officers surmised that Hussain could be regular soldier of the Pakistani Army. As such, he could have been part of Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistani SSG (Special Services Group) which carried out hit and run attacks on Indian border posts. Since social media is very powerful, people in Kotli, including his family, saw the reports about Hussain being caught alive after being injured. In that case, not accepting his body was not feasible for the Pakistan authorities.

Whatever may be the reason for Pakistan accepting Hussain’s body, it may take some time before we know the truth.

(Sant began as a teacher but after six years, joined the Indian Express, Chandigarh in 1990, the year when terrorism was taking its first step in J & K and soon there would be exodus of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. He subsequently worked for The Statesman, The Times of India and Star News among others. He is based in Jammu since May 2000. He edits epaper.earthnews.in, a newspaper from Jammu presently.)

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