In most cases of Mujahid force members dying from Indian action, Pakistan Army passes them off as ‘civilian casualties’

Significant discontent is happening among the members of the Mujahid force of the Pakistani army which is stationed at the country’s eastern border in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) facing India, intelligence inputs gathered by Indian security agencies have revealed. The members of these forces are mostly local youths keeping in line with Pakistan Army’s approach of using local population in armed conflicts.

The Mujahid force members are angry over the “step-motherly” treatment they have been getting from successive Pakistan Army chiefs despite suffering the maximum loss in the hands of the Indian Army, official correspondence accessed by The Sunday Guardian has revealed.

The Mujahid force, whose headquarters are in Bhimber, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), is presently under the administrative control of the National Guards, GHQ, and is headed by an officer from the Punjab region.

“The morale of our men is very low. The commander of the 10 Corp had visited the Bhimber HQ in August and promised that they will be considered as regular troops and we will be treated as equal to the Pakistani regular forces by November 2020, but nothing has happened so far,” an official correspondence between two officers reads.

As a result, the number of absconders from the Mujahid force has been growing as they believe that they are being asked to fight in what essentially is the war of the “Punjabi generals”. The force suffered very heavy casualties in the last half of November in the Neelam valley and Haji Peer sector after which the members of the force met General Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Pakistan Army, seeking deployment of members of other units at the forward areas in the eastern border. As of today, approximately 70% of deployment at the Indian border is of the Mujahid force. The force members want their deployment to be reduced to 50% with the remaining 50% to be deployed from other units.

According to sources, in almost all cases of the members of the Mujahid force dying due to Indian action, the Pakistan Army passes them off as “civilian casualties”.

According to officials, despite being a “reserved’ force, they are used as frontline troops along the LoC from posts that are situated across Siachen and Chenab. “The majority of the terror launch pads in PoK are operated in places which are guarded by the Mujahid forces because they are sons of the soil, and once they are killed by the Indian Army, Pakistan uses such actions to propagate anti-India feeling among the locals of PoK,” an official said. However, on document, these Mujahid forces are to be used during war as reserve and are to be posted in hostile areas. As per official documents, the salary of these Mujahid force members is nearly half of what the regular Pakistani troop members get and they have no medical insurance or pension and provident fund available to them, which the Pakistan Army regulars gets The command of these forces is always with the Punjab Regiment officers.

“When a Mujahid force member is injured, he is not taken to the Military Hospital, but sent to a civilian hospital and presented as a civilian,” another official communication reads.

The recent wave of discontent is not happening for the first time. In 2015, too, the Mujahid force members had gone on protest, seeking rights and facilities equal to a regular Pakistani soldier. They were promised new service rules at that time, but nothing happened.