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July 17, 1999
NLI troops miffed with seniors
Personnel of the Northern Light Infantry are peeved at the way their seniors have treated them during the two-month-long conflict in Kargil.
According to information provided by the two Pakistani prisoners of war -- Naik Inayat Ali and Sepoy Humar Shah - to the Indian authorities, the senior commanders, specially the commanding officers, never visited the areas of intrusion. Instead, they continued to live a comfortable life in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir while their young officers and troops faced innumerable privations on the battlefront.
A defence spokesman said the two PoWs revealed that there is a lot of frustration among the NLI rank and file for having been made "sacrificial goats" in the misadventure.
The PoWs said the Pakistan Army had deliberately deployed troops from only the northern areas so that any backlash remains confined to the northern areas, which are being administered by the army.
Reports also suggest that some officers of the NLI were considered for key embassy postings in foreign countries to "pacify" them. All officers of the NLI have been granted enhanced monetary benefits.
The 5 NLI is one of the 14 battalions raised for anti-heliborne commando operations and snow warfare. Its commandos are also deputed to the elite Special Service Group. The work of the NLI has increased since its deployment in the Siachen area.
The NLI was raised out of the militia formed by the British. After the creation of Pakistan, the force was reorganised, equipped with modern weapons, and deployed in PoK, the North-West Frontier Province, and Baluchistan.
The NLI itself was formed in 1973 and merged into the Pakistan Army in 1993 with its regimental centre somewhere near Gilgit.
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