India and Pakistan must fight terrorism together

‘Terrorism has no geographical or religious boundaries. Both India and Pakistan have been witnessing terrorist acts and mass causalities on a regular basis. Similar to Indian Army, Pakistan army too has constantly been fighting terrorism on its soil. One could argue that Pakistan deserves it, as the terrorists are primarily grown and raised on its soil, with possibly both overt and covert support from its army and intelligence.

Most Indians want Pakistan to destroy all terrorist camps flourishing in the country so that both countries could breathe an air of peace. If wishes were horses, beggars would fly! It is much easier said than done, as the definition of ‘terrorism’ is possibly being misinterpreted as ‘jihad’ in some communities of Pakistan. One would wish the Pakistan government draws a clear line between the two terms and takes appropriate actions against the terrorists. Sadly, the imaginary line is possibly quite hazy, rather non-existent, in Pakistan. As a consequence, Pakistan loses many more people – all Muslims – to acts of terrorism than India.

Terrorism must be dealt with on its own and not seen in terms of religion. It will not be prudent and fair to divide the world into Hindus and Muslims, in so far as terrorism and patriotism are concerned. India is home to world’s third largest Muslim population. Trust and faith keep people going. Otherwise, people would not be able to move out of their houses.

Indian Army and Jammu & Kashmir Armed Police (JKAP) have decent representation of Muslim soldiers who have been fighting against the militancy for years, and many of them have laid down their precious lives while discharging their duties. The proven integrity and bravery of Indian Muslim soldiers and the security personnel is unquestionable.

The current leadership

Both India and Pakistan have currently very capable and strong Prime Ministers (‘PM’). Both are proven leaders. Both are committed to bring good health and prosperity to their respective countries. Both have received their people’s mandate to lead their countries to a better tomorrow.

Interestingly, both PMs also face numerous internal challenges from several known toxic and divisive agencies that are bent upon undermining their respective countries. Both have inherited distasteful legacies left by their past governments. Fortunately, both countries have numerous soldiers of peace, who do support the two leaders and fight for sanity and progress of their respective countries.

When there is so much in common between the two countries – the common past and the current challenges – and there is so much at stake, it makes sense to see them fighting together as one team against their common enemies– terrorism, poverty, gender discrimination, poor education, environmental vandalism, dwindling liveability and growing mental illness.

A sincere appeal to both leaders:

Please work together as a team to achieve all noble and peaceful objectives for your respective countries. Together you will be invincible. Empower your soldiers of peace so that you can prevail upon your common enemies.”

There will be no better time and the opportunity than the present one to come together.  Pakistan’s PM, Mr Imran Khan, is a well educated and reasonable person. The whole world knows and respects him for all his good work before he became PM. One must, however, note that he also has numerous known constraints and his position can be deemed as quite precarious in so far as fighting terrorism is concerned. He will need quite a bit of time and immense support – both from inside and outside – to win over terrorists in his country. Therefore, it is not prudent to put him unduly under significant pressure, as he may not have much room to manoeuvre, which could potentially weaken his position and possibly bring back the army at the helm.

True patriotism

The recent developments on either side of the Line of Control (LoC) have generated strong jingoistic emotions, especially on television and social media, in both countries. Many civilians and ex-services personnel can be heard shouting loud war cries. Obviously, they lack imagination about the consequences of war, especially if it escalates and acquires a nuclear dimension, in which case the destruction in both countries will be unimaginable. A message to such people:

Being jingoistic is not being patriotic. Crying war on social media does not bring peace and prosperity.

If you are a patriot and truly committed to serve your country, then work to cement the existing social cracks. Help to build strong bridges between communities so that people can cohere peacefully. Endeavour to underpin the foundations of your country; don’t undermine it by your rhetoric and extreme views on religion, politics and nationalism. Be a soldier of peace, and not of hate and destruction.”

Instead of sorting out their internal mess, it is baffling to see many Indians and Pakistanis obsessed and paranoid about each other’s countries. Jingoism blinds them to numerous internal issues and hidden enemies that constantly undermine their countries. Refer to author’s book, Issues White-anting India (2017).

While the author has been incessantly crying (seemingly hoarse) about a number of significant issues that constantly keep undermining India, and a dire need to integrate it and bring it back to sustainable health, he is pained to see many Indians oblivious to those issues. He is also horrified to find that, on the contrary, many Indians are just obsessed with Pakistan and not concerned with the falling liveability and the health of their own country.

If one can stop thinking about Kashmir (and Pakistan) for a moment, how many people truly believe everything else is perfectly hunky-dory in India (or in Pakistan)? How many people believe all Indians (or Pakistanis) are genuine and honest citizens? How many people believe the two countries should not focus on their internal issues? It is time to reflect and purge ourselves of overflowing hate and anger.

Mob mentality shows herd mentality. When people lose the ability to see logic and reason, they become very dangerous and hostile, and the country loses in the process. In the present times, it is not very easy to keep independence in one’s thought and go against the mass euphoria. People can troll you if you don’t jump on the band wagon. Jesus was crucified. So were Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, and so were John F Kennedy and Mrs Indira Gandhi. Aristotle and many Renaissance thinkers had to pay a heavy price for their independent thoughts.

Terrorism – a cancer

Recently, a Facebook friend commented, “Cancer needs treatment today while head aches and pains can wait.” I provided him with the following response:

I don’t really understand how that word – cancer – applies to the current discussion. Earlier, I have painfully heard some Kashmiri Muslims too using that terrible word – cancer – to describe Kashmiri Pandits, and I have responded to them sensibly in my book, 22 Years … If you refer to terrorism as cancer, the subcontinent and many parts of the world are indeed gripped with terrorism in various forms – domestic, social, political and religious.

Rapes and virtual slavery of 500 million poor people in India can also be construed as terrorism.

How do we get rid of subcontinent’s known cancers – terrorism, poverty, gender issues and inequality, poor education, environmental degradation, dwindling liveability, corruption, mental illness and growing rate of biological cancers? All these cancers grip the very fabric of the subcontinent community.

Because of poverty and poor education, thousands of young kids in the subcontinent are virtually bought or stolen from their families and admitted to various schools of extreme versions of a religion and trained to fight the infidels … I think those headaches and body aches too are symptoms of brain and bone cancers.”

Philosophy

Given that many Indians and Pakistanis are madly obsessed with each other’s countries, they must be possibly in love with each other. Only lovers can be so paranoid and obsessed with each other. When we fall in love with someone, that person remains in our heart and mind most of the time. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin. One seldom gets angry at strangers. Pakistanis and Indians are not indifferent to each other. They do think about each other, for whatever reasons.

Can we, therefore, take a wide and deep look at the whole subcontinent – to see the bigger picture and not see it as two different countries? Culturally and historical, they are not much different.

Why cannot we all fight coherently together to bring down the walls of distrust and animosity between the two countries? Why do we allow a bloody past ruin our present? This is the 3rd millennium and things can be sorted out with dialogue, and not necessarily with a weapon alone. If you can call or send an email in 2019 to convey your message, why do you need to write a letter on parchment and send it through a messenger riding on a horseback, which was done two thousand years ago?

This is an entirely different world and the laws in this current world are also entirely different to those of the first millennium. Why is to so difficult to be peaceful? Why do we allow the Satan of death and destruction possess us? How unfortunate is it that many people want to draw blood without considering the unimaginable consequences of a war!

If input remains same, output will also remain same. Therefore, to make positive changes, one must think deeply and change one’s approach. Why can’t we think outside the box? The two leaders are capable to forge a strong bond and bring peace and greater progress to the subcontinent but they will need their people’s proactive support. They will also need a vision to do so.’ … Bill K Koul

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