It is imperative for any democratic government to achieve its goals smoothly, to convince the general public that it's right in doing so, that it is morally correct (if morals are a big thing with the public that is) and that whatever actions its taking are in line with the national interest.

This is something that we can see happening across the border with Modi going around all over the world labelling Pakistan not just a terrorist state but a terrorist exporting country, and raising the issue of human rights abuse in Balochistan.

But while it's quite obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Modi administration is attempting to divert the world's attention as well as the attention of its own people from the human rights abuses committed by Indian forces in Kashmir, what’s troubling is the role the media in both countries is playing to hype up an already volatile situation by flaring up emotions of the people in both countries.

It’s truly a wonder that the Indian media has accepted Indian army’s “surgical strikes” in Pakistan as a fact. Perhaps the Indian media is highly regulated by the government in which case it may be understandable that the Indian media is busy flaring up emotions of its citizens because that’s really what’s in the interest of the government.  Or maybe its because hate sells better than verified and objective reports.

But whatever it is, there is something truly messed up with the Indian media considering the kind of independent stories they come up with, like “grandmother of Indian soldier, captured by Pakistan, dies of shock” reported by Hindustan Times, or the more recent video by The Indian Express which claims that they contacted the relatives of IHK Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir, who provided “graphic details” of the surgical strike conducted by the Indian army in Azad Kashmir and went on as far as to claim that a truck carried all the dead bodies across the river back to the Indian side, and then there was the Om Puri video in which they just wouldn’t let the poor man speak and try to justify Bollywood's stance on Pakistani artistes. The bottom line is, it seems that the Indian media, given its pro-government/ anti-Pakistan stance, is acting more like the Indian government’s PR managers, rather than independent news outlets.

But what is up with the Pakistani media, which has made an entire industry out of criticising the government and politicians? Why is it that they have taken to flaring up emotions of our citizens? Is it really beneficial for us as a nation to feel such strong emotions against India?

To understand the point I’m trying to make I need you to close your eyes and take a deep breath before reading this.

If you’re someone who’s feeling very strongly about India’s actions against Pakistan, know that it is not the people of India but the Indian government that’s at fault and the only reason you’re feeling this way towards the country and the people of India is because media outlets that have no regard for journalistic ethics and are busy selling rage towards another nation just because it sells so well, have made you feel so.

For example, a couple of days ago, a certain popular Pakistani English daily released a report claiming that if you searched 'Namak Haraam country' on Google, India’s flag showed up. The ‘report’ went on to say that Google had passed a “verdict” on one of the “defining characteristics” of our neighbour.

While it's true that the search did indeed produce the results reported, it is only because Google was showing the ‘country’ of origin for the movie ‘Namak Haraam’ starring Amitabh Bachan and not because the country itself is ‘Namak Haraam’.

The “report” was ignorant, to say the least and only helped flare up tensions between people of the two countries. The Indian media playing its role, took up the report and presented it as Pakistan trying to troll India and as always, their posts got massive engagement and reach, and all news outlets Pakistani and Indian profited at the expense of spreading just a little more hate.

It is certainly sad that people are so easily manipulated and that even some of the most educated Pakistani’s and Indians lack the ability to think critically, but what some of the media outlets and newspapers are doing is ethically wrong.

News and media outlets particularly those with a large audience, have to act responsibly because they have the power to manipulate people’s emotions, particularly in this day and age where information is frequently confused with knowledge.

But I guess in today's world, where likes, hits, viewership, ratings, and reach have become the sole focus of media outlets, a discussion on ethics and responsibly dispatching information is useless. Media outlets will sell whatever is profitable, be it hate, government propaganda (selling so well in our neighbouring state) or even the prospect of an all out war.

This is why I’m making this attempt to convince you, the people, to not give in to the emotions you’re being made to feel just so some people can profit. Be objective in your approach. I’m sure that in India, a country of 1.2 billion not all people hate Pakistanis. If you need some reassuring, here's a link to a couple of Indian students paying tribute to young Pakistani musicians by covering Nescafé basement’s version of ‘Mr. Fraudiye’ amidst the escalation of tensions between the two nations.

Indian people have always treated our artistes with respect and have provided tonnes of opportunities for them. True there are some extremists who are always creating hurdles and spreading hate but they are in no way representatives of the entire Indian population. We as Pakistanis who have consistently had to deal with extremism should know better.

This is also the reason why I don’t agree with PEMRA and Super Cinema’s decision to block Indian dramas and movies. Indian cinema may not promote our films or screen them, but it does offer opportunities for our actors to grow and that, at least to me, is a big thing and a gesture of goodwill by Bollywood.

If we start hating people from India, we’re playing right into the hands of their government propaganda. It is in the interest of the Indian government, to stir up negative emotions of the Indian people so that their attention is diverted from the atrocities committed by Indian forces in Kashmir, but our government has taken a humanitarian stance and is asking the world to help the people of Kashmir, so rather than hating on the Indian populace on social media and other platforms it would be more prudent to concentrate on raising awareness of atrocities being committed in Indian held Kashmir.

I don’t believe the general Indian population appreciates the brutalities committed against the Kashmiri people by Indian forces which is why we also need to make an effort to make them more aware of the diversion tactics being used by their government and find allies amidst them to support our cause, which shouldn’t be that hard since its humanitarian in nature.

If there’s one thing good about democracy, its that you need consent of the people, but at the same time its is becoming increasingly easier for governments to manipulate peoples emotions and manufacture artificial consent through state propaganda perpetuated by the media.

As a democracy the only sensible action should be not to give in to the hate being propagated on both sides by the media and instead being resilient in our belief that people on both sides of the border don’t want war or the continuation of human rights abuses against Kashmiris in IHK.