Amid Indo-Pak tension, calls for peace occupy virtual space

With India’s midnight ‘airstrike’ inside Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) at Balakote, heightening apprehensions about possible war between the two nuclear neighbours, people across the spectrum vouched for peace on virtual space.

Among the ones to put their point across on recent hostilities between the two countries was former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Saying war is not an option, Omar said: “JeM hit Indian forces & claimed the attack. In turn Indian forces hit JeM & owned that air strike. It’s now time for cooler heads to prevail. War is never an ideal option to resolve disputes…”.

In an apparent attack to prime minister Narendra Modi’s remarks during a rally in Rajasthan, where he said ‘India is in safe hands…and won’t let country bow down’, Omar said: “For all those looking at today’s air strikes through a political/electoral prism it might be worth remembering that PM Vajpayee went in to the 1999 elections with nuclear tests AND victory in Kargil under his belt & still only returned to power with a coalition”.

Noted writer and novelist, Mirza Waheed also pressed for resolving Kashmir issue that has been flashpoint between the two neighbouring countries.

”India, Pakistan, guess what, resolving Kashmir is an infinitely better option. You’ve fought a few times before and the fact that you’re still at it means only thing: it hasn’t worked for either country. Most certainly not for Kashmir,” Waheed wrote on Twitter.

Waheed added: “As for people dizzy with glee at the prospect of war, it’s quite clear you cannot turn them into agents of peace. Ultimately, they will be unpleasant little footnotes in history, if anything at all”.

Another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti asked Pakistan to adopt “reconciliatory stand” to stop further escalation, which as per her would make Kashmiris “biggest causalities”.

“Since Pak has claimed that no casualties were reported despite IAF violating LoC, they should adopt a reconciliatory stand as opposed to further escalation. Or else, an already volatile situation will spiral out of control and as usual Kashmiris will be the biggest casualties,” said Mehbooba on Twitter.

Mehbooba asked how long will Jammu and Kashmir suffer?

“…. Can only hope and pray that good sense prevails soon. How much more will J&K suffer? Kitni der tak hum khamyaza bhugte gain?(to how long we will continue to suffer,” said Mufti.

Her comment generated a debate on her wall with another social media user Mehmal Sarfaraz also saying that Kashmiris get to suffer in the war between the two countries.

“Ms Mufti said it yesterday as well…when two elephants (Indian and Pakistan) fight, it is the grass (Kashmiris) that suffer,” wrote Sarfaraz on micro blogging site, Twitter .

Both former chief ministers Omar and Mehbooba called for end to hostilities between the two countries, with Mehbooba underlining “its disconcerting that educated privileged people are cheering on at the prospect of a war”.

“Todays IAF strikes were followed by mass war hysteria on twitter & news channels. Most of these people are ignorant who have suspended the use of common sense. But its disconcerting that educated privileged people are cheering on at the prospect of a war. This is true jahaalat(ignorance),” said Mehbooba.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone also urged the two countries to end the hostilities, so that Kashmiris get respite from decades of violence.

“Hope we c an end to all types of violence. Hope Kashmiris who have been at the receiving for 3 decades get respite from violence. Millions died in Europe only to evolve as EU. Historically countries evolve bloodily. Hope it has been bloody enough for the two countries to now talk,” said Lone.

Terming, the present situation as “electoral gains” for right wing forces, former bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faisal said glorification of violence is against the basic values of humanity.

“Pulwama attack: 45 lives lost and as many families destroyed. Targetted violence against thousands of Kashmiris. Communal polarisation. A near-war situation between India and Pak. Possible electoral gains for RW forces in India. Who lost and who gained?,” wrote Faesal.

Faesal added: “How can yesterday’s mourners become cheerleaders of today’s violence? This war-mongering, glorification of violence, arguments for necessity of violence for political ends, false distinctions between state and non-state violence, are all against the basic values of humanity”.

Amid all the speculations, arguments and counter arguments on social media platforms all day, it was journalist and editor Aman Sethi who raised a point saying: “Journalists are letting the government gain political points for the strike without taking responsibility for information put out on the government’s behalf”.