I once saw a post on social media by an Indian Cricket Fan in Australia who posted a picture with Pakistani Cricketers with the caption, “After my home country, my brother’s from my neighbouring country are the ones I will cheer for.” It was a simple social media post but one which warmed my heart thinking that the civilians from these two nations that have been more or less at each other’s throat since splitting from the same entity in 1947 can bring about the peace that the military factions haven’t been able to achieve since ages. However, then came the Pulwama Attack.
Acknowledged as the deadliest single terror attack in the insurgency-ridden state in more than three decades that claimed the lives of 40 members of India’s paramilitary police force CRPF in Kashmir. This atrocityoccurred on the 14th of February.While Indians were celebrating the day of love, an attackbrutally killed this convoy of paramilitary personnel who were on their way to duty. The responsibility for the attack was taken by Jaish-e-Muhammad, an extremist militant group based in Pakistan which although declared a terrorist group by the USA enjoys support from the Pakistan’s Government Military Factions. The Indian Government, deeply upset over the incident took a series of measures from giving the Indian Armed Forces a free reign to retaliate to withdrawing the MFN status from Pakistan, attacking revenge tactics from all sides.
In the midst of this pictures of the deadly attack spread like wildfire on social media and that lead to an outcry of proportions, with people stooping to the level of commenting “PKMKB” on viral posts trying to make a point, demanding retaliation, justice to the Pulwama victims but the strongest cry was to teach Pakistan a lesson. Now on the right and wrong of targeting the entire nation for the attack done by a terrorist group on their soil that enjoys Government sanction is a rightful measure or not is a point of open debate and never ending deliberations. I will leave you to think on that. Meanwhile this happened.
By an attack orchestrated by the Indian Air Force, For the first time in almost half a century, Indian aircrafts ventured beyond the Line of Control separating the two countries to hit targets on Pakistani soil. The news outlets across these two nations reported duelling accounts on the incident while Indian ones applauding how this attack killed close to 200-300 terrorists while Pakistan claiming that those areas were empty forest stretches. However the retaliation had begun and Pakistan vowed to be no silent spectator. Following this there were reports of cease fire violations by the Pakistan Army followed by the downing of an IAF aircraft and capturing of an Indian Pilot.
In the midst of all this a valuable observation was made by the Pakistani Prime Minister,“With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?”
The importance of considering this statement in the light of blinding jingoism consuming popular opinion on both sides of the contested border is particularly what the intention of this post is.
First of all, jingoism has taken two forms of popular media opinion. The first is that India is way stronger in terms of military power, population strength, and economic power and hence should go to War with Pakistan with the intention of rampaging the nation and bringing this issue of tension between the two countries over Kashmir to end once and for all. The other faction is worried for our armed forces personnel, asking the justification of losing so many lives even worth this war that will have to be in the end also be resolved through dissolve. This faction stresses that with US backing India and China Backing Pakistan, this could very well be the beginning of World War III.
It is also imperative to note the political implications of a situation where the nation goes to War with Pakistan. To illustrate further, the incident was also reported by Washington Post, definitely the most reputed news outlet in the world. To quote, “And with national elections around the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sensed an opportunity to burnish his hawkish image and satisfy widespread demands for vengeance aired on social media and the country’s oft-overheated cable news channels. “Today, I sense a fervor in the crowd,” he told a rally on Tuesday afternoon. “The country is in safe hands.”This isn’t hollow reporting, this is precisely why it is not the time for war right now. A war would mean a situation of Emergency which works in the favour of the governing party so that the elections are delayed and the popular opinion shifts in their favour for taking forthcoming steps against Pakistan. However, that would not be the case. Even a war with a nuclear armed neighbour is the extent Indian Politicians would go to and that would be a death knell for both the countries for sure.
Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, if an attack is to commence, if a war begins, the casualties would be so profound, the countries or the world will not be able to grapple with the consequences. India won independence on the principle of Non Violence, that was no hollow sermon, that is what we do to ensure minimum casualties and maximum result. If Pakistan were to launch an attack on India with a nuclear weapon detonated at Delhi as a target, every single one of us would have someone we would lose on a personal level. India retaliates and the same situation would be in Pakistan. The end, one of the countries would give up and the other one would enjoy a higher seat at the negotiation table. But it would still come down to this dialogue.
Is this higher seat at the negotiation table worth the human casualties both armed forces and civilian, mass rapes, bombings and others. Will the economic distress be worth this seat at the negotiation table which there is a fair chance the country would take decades to recover from. When India operates, they ensure attack on just terrorist factions, when Pakistan does, they use civilians as human shields, is this what we really want.
Let’s be the responsible youth. Let’s create dialogue instead of jingoism, Peace in place of War. Stop the “PKMKB” and turn it into “IndPakDialogue”. Let’s use the power of social media, where we disagree from our radical leaders and call for world round tables where ministries of these world nations talk about the sprouting terrorism in Pakistan, levy sanctions for ceasefire violations, to not one but both sides, work together to eradicate these miscreant terrorists, not make war that will lead to loss of such a magnitude that the victory would be lost.