Written by admin on Friday, September 30th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

As the situation worsens between Pakistan and India…
SOURCE: Daily Times
Friday, September 30, 2016

Trying to live up to its pre-election promise of not going ‘soft’ on Pakistan, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government in its attempt at giving Pakistan a supposedly ‘befitting reply’ for its alleged role in the militant attack in Uri ordered firing across the Line of Control (LoC) and termed it a ‘surgical strike’. It is all too clear that India is wary of a military confrontation with Pakistan, and such acts by the Indian government are merely attempts at satiating the appetite for action against Pakistan given the warmongering and the hype for supposed vengeance created in the Indian media following the attack in Uri. As if trapped in a precarious situation of its own making, the Indian government is trying to find a way to both avoid war and not appear as if it has capitulated to Pakistan.

While the shameless firing by Indian soldiers across the LoC has led to the death of two Pakistani soldiers, the firing itself is something that, unfortunately, happens in the LoC far too often. And to call it a surgical strike only reveals the desperation of the Indian government to show its people that it took some sort of a military action against Pakistan.

It appears to be lost on the Indian government the danger of the warmongering rhetoric that it is pandering to. While Pakistan remains committed to peace, the Indian government is treading a thin line by engaging in such military adventures. It does not take long for things to spiral out of control, and perhaps, India should rethink the consequences of any such eventuality. Pakistan on its part must be lauded on its restraint and maturity with which it handled this act of hostility by the Indian government. Instead of further fuelling up jingoism over the death of its two soldiers, Pakistan government instead decided to rebuff Indian claims of the firing across the LOC being a surgical strike. DG ISPR Lt General Asim Bajwa spoke to media, and the ISPR in its statement to counter the claims made by the Indian Director General of Military Operations said: “There had been cross border fire, initiated and conducted by India, which is [an] existential phenomenon.” However, Pakistan has made it clear that it is prepared for any act of aggression by India.

It is in times like these that reason takes a secondary role, while public perceptions are conditioned through excessive doses of jingoism.

On both sides of the border, media is playing a dangerous role by forsaking principles of journalistic responsibility, and instead advocating a virulent discourse aimed at vilifying the other.

Increasingly constricting the space for any meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India, this unfortunate state of affairs has to change if the South Asian crisis is to be resolved. It is important for media to realise that for certain sensitive issues, the imperative for their resolution has to trump myopic considerations of ratings. War would only lead to mutual destruction and it is time for the media and the public to introspect regarding where all of this chest thumping and belligerence will lead them to. When peace has enormous dividends for the people of both countries, do Pakistan and India really want to remain in a state of perpetual hostility?


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