The Internet is abuzz with shock, grief, and anger over the Pulwama attack. It’s a given that the main source of terrorism lies in Pakistan even though the country is asking for proof. In my opinion, even if there is a remote possibility that Pakistan is not the culprit this time, it has been many times so in the past. So, India’s action is justified by all means.
Many people are asking the Army to declare war on Pakistan. Well, I would say, let the experts decide. It is not that the Army is not sad or angry. The recent IAF strikes on the JeM camps show that the Army is active and working on its counter-terrorism strategy. The Army has to look at the holistic picture before taking any step. It has to look at the ripple effect of its actions on its own countrymen. As someone once said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
If we leave counter-terrorism attacks to the Army, does that mean we have nothing much else to do? Well, thankfully, there are many peaceful alternatives as well. Let us look at some. And, let me tell you, these methods are not just for the government to act upon but also for ‘you’ and ‘me’ – the common man – to help make some contribution to the nation.
Time and again, we have talked about not allowing Pakistani artists to work with India. The Indian film industry is divided on this. Some say the artists are creative people who have nothing to do with terrorism. Agreed! However, the idea is not to paint everyone with the same brush, but to send across a stern message – a message of zero tolerance. It is high time we break all ties with Pakistan. I know not all Pakistanis are terrorists, and there are many wonderful and innocent people on the other side of the border too. However, it is unfortunate that they belong to a country that is sheltering anti-human elements. So, we need to snap all ties with the country and its people.
It is important to note that we cannot have a piecemeal approach to this. This logic needs to extend to all spheres – trains and buses to Pakistan, sports, economic trade, tourism – everything. I would suggest the government should revoke all visas to Pakistanis and send back all Pakistanis currently in India. In fact, the government should not issue visas to Pakistanis anymore. Also, it should not allow any Indians to travel to Pakistan till terrorism is taken care of. In short, India and Indians need to behave as if this country does not exist except for the Army to take care of.
Before I proceed any further, let me add a disclaimer here. In no way am I trying to say that you ill-treat a Pakistani common man if you happen to meet one outside our country. The objective of this exercise is to send a stern message and not to punish the innocent. There are some people who have friends and family across the border. Sorry folks, if this policy is implemented, you would not be able to travel to each other’s countries. However, meeting in a neutral third country is always an option.
India has a very good standing across the globe, while everybody worldwide knows that Pakistan is a haven for terrorists, and the world is paying a price for it. The Indian government has made some attempts in the past to put pressure on Pakistan through superpowers like the US. However, this time, it needs to act tough. India needs to ally with superpowers and put pressure on them to snap all ties with the country if they want to have ties with India. Just recently, India welcomed with open arms the Saudi Arabian crown prince after his visit to Pakistan. If India wants its stand against Pakistan to be taken seriously, it will have to stop such gestures.
India needs to get the superpowers to also stop countries like China that are purportedly financing many activities in Pakistan. These measures will not be easy and will take time, but it is high time! On all previous occasions, India has eventually softened its stand, only to wake up again after the next terrorist attack. This time, if India does not act tough like all previous times, there would be another terrorist attack. We need to stop this, now!
There are some minor steps that we can take on a day-to-day basis that can help counter-terrorism in some way in the long-term. First and foremost is to educate our children about terrorism and its bad effects. No child is born a terrorist, but is converted into one. We need to make sure that no child from our family will ever go the wrong way, and soon such organisations could fall short of resources.
Another thing that the common man can do is to be alert. Many times, a terrorist has emerged from our neighbourhood. I know is it very difficult to identify one, however, sometimes if you see any suspicious activity, do report to the police. Some years back, film director Mahesh Bhatt’s son, Rahul Bhatt, had reported about the 26/11 mastermind, David Headley, and how he was friends with him, unaware of his background and motives. This did help the police in many ways.
To conclude, while the Army takes care of the attacks on terrorist groups, there are many peaceful ways of handling terrorism and its perpetrators by the government and the common man. Let us all do our bit, and this bit-by-bit would soon turn from insignificance to magnificence!