It was alarming to see Pakistan’s name in connection to Dhaka attack that led to the deaths of over 20 people. The Indian media’s dishonest reporting etiquette aside, what makes this allegation even more ridiculous is the absolute lack of motive on part of the ISI to carry out subversive activities in Bangladesh. Pakistan has nothing to gain strategically by destabilising Bangladesh, and plenty to lose if militancy and extremism become a more serious problem in the country. The region is already facing a tough battle from the problem, and another country embroiled in the same war is not going to do Pakistan any good, no matter how hard foreign media pushes the opposing perspective. We have moved beyond 1972, Bangladesh should as well.

Even the Indian government, which jumps at every chance to implicate Pakistan in acts of terror, could not do this in the case of Pathankot; and the traditional ‘ISI vs RAW’ narrative dictates that India would be a point of interest for the intelligence agency, and not Bangladesh. If Pathankot was not a government sanctioned attack, which it wasn’t, why would this be any different? And since when did ISI have any links to Daesh? Nothing about this makes any sense.

It is important to nip vitriolic rumours such as this in the bud, and for once, the Foreign Office has done this diligently. By contacting the Bangladeshi Advisor to the Prime Minister on International Affairs, Professor Gowher Rizvi and asking for a response, Pakistan now also has an official statement that it can use to dismiss any claims that point towards Pakistan’s involvement.

The fact that these allegations come from the Indian media is not surprising; the media of both India and Pakistan have been traditionally hawkish towards the rival nation. What is regrettable is that journalistic ethic – in terms of both respecting the sensitivity of the mood following a grievous attack such as this and pointing fingers without a shred of evidence – goes out the window with baseless accusations. Indian and Pakistani media both do a great disservice to the people each time they play into hatred and prevent the people from getting over traditional biases.

It is time for introspection on both sides by the media, because it has the power to mend old fences and move towards peace, but only if media houses stop giving in to ratings and readership stats by giving the people a permanent enemy.