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Indian Aggression

New Delhi’s early morning incursion into Pakistani air space has put the two nuclear-armed states of South Asia on a dangerous path. This is a path that will serve the vested interests of the Hindutva brigade on Indian side, and its counterpart on the Pakistani side: the reactionary lobby of chauvinists and religious bigots. The events of early Tuesday morning bring no good news to the ordinary civilians on either side of the Pak-India border, who look up to their governments to wage a joint war against poverty, lack of employment opportunities and dismal public services.
War between two nuclear-armed states is not an option, and Narendra Modi’s government as well as the Indian establishment are fully aware of this reality. Yet, they have opted for a path of escalation ahead of the upcoming general elections. Modi and his party have attempted to endanger the future of the region just so that they can improve their chances in an election. What transpired in the Pulwama region of Indian-occupied Kashmir on February 14 was unfortunate, and it was condemned by Pakistan. One can debate the efficacy of the decisions taken at the highest level in Islamabad afterwards, but there’s no denying that some stock-taking was underway since the Feb 14 attack in Pulwama. If the Modi administration was really after a solution to the problem of terrorism in the region, it could have engaged Pakistan through a backchannel, sharing actionable evidence if there is any. This would have led Pakistan to take action against militants, who are enemies of the region’s peace regardless of where they’re based, and also act a confidence boosting measure between the two neighbours. Alas, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has lesser concerns at the moment.
While the Indian civilian and military leadership is on a collision course, what is truly unfortunate for the region is the manner in which many otherwise reasonable voices in the media have conducted themselves in the wake of Indian jets’ incursion.
Meanwhile, in a series of press conferences, the authorities in Islamabad have stated that there will be a response on multiple fronts: political, diplomatic and military. It is important that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government approaches Indian aggression with a level-headedness, meaning that military response should be well-calibrated. The government first should use all diplomatic channels and expose New Delhi’s aggressive posturing. Alongside, the country’s leadership should continue its crackdown on extremists. This is the only way Pakistan can show its sincerity and commitment to the cause of regional peace to the rest of the world, and build a strong case against Modi administration’s destructive policies.
In this backdrop, it is imperative on progressive voices on both sides of the international divide to rise above hyper-nationalism and speak in one voice for peace, and against adventurism, by either side.



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AJK President calls on KP Governor

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