From Kargil To Pulwama

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Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century said, ”For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

Yelling and screaming TV anchors painted a picture of the air strikes, with such meticulous detail, it felt like the audience was watching everything from the cockpits of the Mirage planes. But it was soon learnt that most of the disseminated information was false and unverified. 

This is especially sad because journalists Media aren’t always helpless or bereft of resources to independently authenticate the matter. It was difficult to find a journalist on Indian TV scrutinising the narrative from both sides, instead of lecturing about patriotism from the pulpit of their newsrooms, for the days that followed the deadly Pulwama attack.

L.K. Advani, an eminent politician, recalls in his memoir the answer India’s mainstream media gave, when Indira Gandhi attempted at exercising control over them. “We’d rather bend than crawl”, they’d said.

Times have changed drastically, and so has the professionalism displayed by certain Indian journalists. A lot of them have given their own flavour to the reality, spicing things up with jingoistic discourse, but on the contrary, Pakistan’s official reaction to the Pulwama attack has been very measured. Prime Minister Imran Khan repeated that the core of his mission is to seek détente with India. He also warned India of retaliation if Pakistan was provoked. The official armed forces spokesperson gave an impassioned presentation in which he stressed on his want to establish peace with India. Pakistani diplomats, and especially Pakistan’s two brilliant daughters – Dr Maleeha Lodhi at the UN in New York, and Tehmina Janjua at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, engaged Pakistan’s bilateral partners and friends to explain the position of the pro-peace government of Pakistan.

Was the Pulwama tragedy more compelling than the Kargil war for the warplanes to cross the LoC for the first time since 1971? India and Pakistan, two nuclear armed states, have fought many wars since the partition in 1947. Our militaries have faced each other in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Between those wars, there have been numerous skirmishes, cross-border strikes and accusations of covert support for terrorism. What we have spent, has been a lifetime at war. We don’t want to see our soldiers die and cannot become a subcontinent of orphans.

Pakistanis don’t want matters to escalate, and wish to pace up efforts on the diplomatic front. Kashmir is the core issue and cause of tensions, and the issue should be resolved. 

Time and again, global and regional powers have recognised the potential of the Kashmir dispute to unravel into unthinkable conflict between India and Pakistan. Yet, Modi’s government continues to aggressively escalate the issue. 

Dr Zeeshan Khan 

CMH, Pakistan 

dr.zeeshan.alias.ghazikhan@gmail.com

 

 


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