Truth is first, sanity the second and humanity is the last casualty of war.  In situations of war or escalations, what is at a discount is spirit of inquiry or question. Posing questions on the happenings, information and claims by the warring parties by their own people, media and politicians is rated as an offence against state and hence supportive of contentions of the enemy.

In modern world, communication warfare precedes the actual war on the ground. Whether actual war follows or not, the communication war is definitely fought between the parties through public mouth and media. Media warfare is not only national, regional but also international. It starts from communication of statements of the heads and officials of concerned department, mentioning strikes and occurrences, claims of casualties and damage caused to the other party. It is followed by counter statements and claims highly mixed with the heresy. On these claims it becomes very hard for one to find out truth. What in the first instance is attacked and assassinated by the contending parties is truth. Thus, truth is first casualty of war. It is triggered by weapon of communication, maybe by propaganda or public relations which are intrinsically both negative as well as positive. Propaganda is used against the forces of enemy nationally, regionally and internationally through media and diplomatic channels whereas public relations are used for people internally as well as externally to win their moral support which is a key factor to win a war.

The real issue with India in the current rounds of escalation was Palwama incident which involved 44 killings of its soldiers whereby Pakistan is blamed for being behind the occurrence by supporting Jesh-e-Muhammad (JeM). Allegedly, the incident is different from the Taj Mahal, Bombay incident which involved casualties of the civilians as against killings of soldiers by the terrorists.

Under Geneva Convention of war and the other enabling provisions of International law, the most fatal violation committed by India was attack on alleged sanctuary of Jesh-e-Muhammad at Ballakot across LoC in Pakistan. Whatever may be the objective of India behind their attack, inter alia, harassing Pakistan or pacifying its people in India to dilute the effects of Palwama incident, it could never be justified under international law as being equated to pronouncement of war which requires any reasons with evidence? Otherwise, it is termed as an aggression, not a war. Maybe, it was further aggravated by killing the truth as first casualty of escalation with the fake claims of having killing 350 students. Initially, Indian media could not dare or be allowed to maintain spirit of inquiry and question but subsequently on shot down of two MIG 21 jets planes of India along with arrest of Abinandan, a pilot of Indian Air Force, IAF, at the hands of Pakistan Air Force, Indian media boiled up against its political leadership by raising the question to show at least one casualty out of 350 students by the Indian forces as against one arrested by Pakistan.

One school of thought believes that release of IAF officer is duly in the largest interest of nation and has been done without any pressure from internal or external international community. This school which comprises the government and intelligentsia further maintains that the release of IAF officer should not be taken as weaknesses as Pakistan has shown its capability and will retaliate if any such aggression is repeated by India. This segment also believes in direct diplomatic communication to offer any investigations into Palwama incident to which India feels aggrieved of and release of tension and has started work on proceedings against banned welfare organizations in Pakistan which is also reported to have shown to Foreign State Minister of KSA on his visit to Pakistan.

The second school of thought believes in the thesis that the IAF officer’s arrest was a rare trophy which could have been got encash on quid pro quo, i.e, something for something basis. It maintains that the Indian blunder and damage caused to India should have been commuted in terms of assurance from India to hold talks on issues like water and Kashmir etc. but Pakistan has  lost this opportunity and despite instant edge, Pakistan has failed to achieve continuity on issues like Kashmir stance which is apprehended to be lost, maybe due to hasty act of releasing the IAF officer which is still being counted as her achievement under certain unseen interference by virtue of BJP policies and the same is seen in constant tension on north eastern borders. This school also maintains that non participation of Pakistan in OIC Conference has resulted in non-inclusion into its communiqué which was managed by the presence of Indian foreign minister and mismanaged by absence of Pakistan foreign minister despite the fact that Pakistan’s resolution on Kashmir issue was voted in her favour. 

Another school of thought believes that the release of IAF officer is admittedly a good effort by Pakistani leadership particularly the military one which has professionally played in the circumstances. However, the same could have been used on the shoulders of international decisive forces like, United Nation, USA or even Saudi Arabia by handing over the IAF officer expressly to or through them as it would have been obliged them to mediate in resolving the root cause of Kashmir. But it suddenly released the pressure in favour of India who has subsequently dismissed any mediation offers extended by Russia, USA or even Saudi Arabia virtually. It maintains that PTI could have secured mileage by playing professionally and diplomatically in spite of the fact that it could not afford any war situation at the outset of its maiden government in the embryonic stage which could otherwise have proved fatal for PTI government and party not only in terms of meager economic resources but also for threat to the ongoing economic and security projects like CPEC etc. It would obviously have brought in criticism from within the country in the eventuality of any war which neither the people of India but also those of Pakistan could afford. This school of thought admits that the Kashmir issue has been highlighted like in the past but could not be availed of as it should have been leading towards any visible and tangible answer. It further maintains that Pakistan now, perhaps, has to wait for such opportunity for long in future.

Admittedly, India has hopelessly failed to achieve its objectives to harass Pakistan, kill its deterrence or upset its economic projects but simultaneously it shall be working on looking for opportunity to hit again. On the other hand, Pakistan, too, has not been able to optimally catch the tide to get the Kashmir issue resolved partially if not fully to bring India on the table for talks. However, what Pakistan has gained this time is credibility of information and what India has lost is truth which was obvious due to falsification of facts and claims by her. This time India made truth as the first victim of escalation which proved counterproductive for her which Pakistan protected successfully followed by sanity and humanity which, however, could have been materialized to the optimum and is, perhaps, missing to be found out in some other opportunity at some other time.