May 30, 2020
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The Indians Asked For It

The Indians Asked For It
For most Pakistanis, the downing of the two Indian warplanes was a perfect gift on the eve of the first anniversary of the country's nuclear tests. As jubilant people took to the streets in celebration, the mood was: The Indians asked for it.

How long should our armed forces look on as a silent spectator?  asked Nadeem Kiyani, a video shop owner in Rawalpindi.  What else are we supposed to do when enemy aircraft violate our airspace?  echoed others.  This was a logical answer to continued Indian belligerence,  asserted Abdul Rasheed, a Rawalpindi shopkeeper.

 There was no justification in deploying over 50,000 troops and 60-70 aircraft near Kargil under the pretext of flushing out infiltrators. They must have other motivesóto capture nearby Pakistani posts, in order to strengthen their position in the area,  opined Syed Abu Hamid, a retired journalist. The people vehemently rejected the Indian claim that the Taliban is involved in Kargil, saying that India raised the bogey in the hoping that it would invite criticism from the West against the Taliban and against Pakistan.

The events in Kargil seemed to overshadow the cricket fever, with people more interested in the war games on the border. There is, however, a general feeling that there is no possibility of a real war between the two countries.  Wars are always fought with people's support that will be available only if there exists a political stability which is presently lacking in India,  said shopkeeper Abdul Manan in Islamabad's Super Market.

The situation, however, is slightly different in the northern parts of the country, particularly in Skardu, near Kargil. Though happy with Pakistan's response, most people here are apprehensive about the possibility of a full-scale war. Most have started hoarding essentials and withdrawing cash from banks; some are leaving. A young boy complained that Kargil Radio was unleashing a negative propaganda campaign against Pakistan, and wanted Radio Pakistan to effectively counter it.

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