Advertisement

HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Dead Pak infiltrator comes alive, claims he is a herb collector

Vikram Jit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 20, 2013
First Published: 23:24 IST(20/10/2013) | Last Updated: 11:34 IST(21/10/2013)

The last shot has evidently not been fired in the recent exchanges between India and Pakistan on the LoC in the Keran sector. One of the three "infiltrators" killed by the army at Gujjartar on October 3, whose body was not recovered, has suddenly come to life. Kabeer Butt, a resident of POK, has claimed before the Pakistani media that he is a "herb collector", who was ambushed by the army along the LoC and that he escaped while his two comrades were taken into custody.

Advertisement


The army has confirmed that one of the two comrades of Butt was indeed Fareed Malik, whose body was recovered after he was shot in an "infiltration bid". The story is that the army claimed that three terrorists were shot while infiltrating on October 4 but only two bodies were recovered. "There is no contradiction in our version of what happened on October 4. An infiltration took place, which our alert troops foiled. Three terrorists were killed but two bodies were recovered along with weaponry. This establishes they were terrorists. These were handed over to the police and an FIR was lodged by the army. Such differing versions do surface in the Pakistani media, and we came across a similar story with regard to the killing of four infiltrators on July 29 in the Machhil sector where it was also alleged that these were local herb collectors from POK," said Col Rajesh Kalia, PRO, Northern Command at Udhampur,

According to the Pakistani media portal, http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com, the "reality is somewhat different from the usual rhetoric India always used against Pakistan to create mistrust and hatred. The "terrorists" that were killed by the Indian army were residents of Bore Baala, Lawat, Neelum, Athmuqam district, who went to collect some 'jari booti' (weeds) from fields near the border and were kidnapped by the Indian army. Two unfortunate men named Fareed Pir, son of Ismaeel Pir, NIC No 42000-5948902-1 and Fareed Malik, son of Zulfiqar Malik, NIC No 82201-639662-3 were killed and a third named Kabeer Butt, son of Shakoor Butt, managed to escape from there."

In a detailed TV interview to the Pakistani portal, Butt says they reached their 'behaks' on October 2, and set out in the early morning of October 3 for herb collection. They were ambushed by the Indian army. Butt says he was tied with ropes but enroute to the army camp, he jumped off a mountainside and got back to his village. Butt showed injuries to his eye, legs and feet incurred during the escape.

The Indian army confirms that one of the bodies did carry the national identity card of Fareed Malik with no 82201-639662-3. The army says Malik's body carried a letter written by Havildar Mohommad Yousuf Chaudhary of 645 Mujahideen battalion of the Pakistan army to his "brother Inayat" seeking help for his associate, Farid Malik. Much is made of this letter by the Indian army as it "establishes" the Pakistani army's role in aiding terrorist infiltrators. However, in the light of the Pakistani portal's claims, could it be that this was a letter entreating help for some civilian work? Or a letter seeking assistance from a contact in Indian Kashmir for Malik? Were these "herb collectors" local guides for infiltrators?

Investigations by a section of the Indian media into the July 29 incident raised similar questions on the death of four "terrorists". Pakistani media reports had said that these four men were kidnapped by Indian forces operating across the LoC on the suspicion of being infiltrator guides. A .12-bore shotgun was among the items seized from the four men, which is a weapon used for game shooting and raised the possibility of the four men being musk-deer poachers. The recovery of just one AK- 56 rifle and three pistols but no grenades or communications equipment from the four men had raised further questions, as also the fact that two of the four men were wearing rubber flip-flops while "infiltrating" the rugged LoC terrain.

Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved