The series of brief provocative exchanges which started in May 2014 and continued all through the following months between India and Pakistan border forces posted in Sialkot-Zafarwal-Shakergarh sector, the news that India is creating trouble for PIA, and recent irresponsible threats to Pakistan by PM Modi have prompted one to find answers to the layers of mistrust between the two countries. Roots of this deep mistrust are buried in the bygone age. A historian has, firstly, to probe into the whole Muslim experience in Indian Sub-continent when the then outsiders came and settled as conquerors around nine centuries ago and the Hindus started converting to the Islamic way of belief and life. The hard-liner Hindus have not yet forgotten this.

Secondly, the nature and depth of mistrust cannot be assessed without exploring and investigating the mindset behind the intrigues against the Muslim rule. The Hindus were in connivance with the British, who in the guise of East India Trading Company set foot on the Calicut soil in early 17th Century. Taking advantage of the extant hostility and hatred, the early British have devised an effective policy of divide and rule. The Indian Mutiny in 1857 has been the bloodiest time for the Muslims. The next 75 years passed with many-sided joint Hindu-Muslim struggles for independence, but not even an iota of malice was reduced. Their leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s resignation from the (predominantly Hindu) Congress Party of India in 1920 was the first move for the separation of Muslims from the Hindus. During the last few years of the struggle, the Hindu hostility was at its most reckless, culminating in Nehru-Mountbatten hanky-panky. The Muslims of the Sub-continent by then (which covers roughly a period of about 8 to 9 centuries) had evolved and integrated their own social fabric in India, which had been epitomized in “Two Nation Theory”, meaning that the sub-continent India belonged to Hindus as much as it belonged to Muslims. But the extremely dangerous increase in riots between Hindus and Muslims on an almost daily basis had made it clear for the ruling British that these two hostile people could not live together as their religious practices, ideological preoccupations, philosophic and literary pursuits, historical and evolutionary links with the outside world, cultural behavioural interactions, purpose and way of life were not only different, but antagonistic.

Sadly, the partition of the Indian Sub-continent in 1947 resulted in bloodshed and large-scale massacre of between 1 to 2 million innocent souls. Since partition, India has been escalating its militarization in Occupied Kashmir Valley. 800,000 military and para-military Indian forces are stationed in Kashmir, and 100,000 Kashmiri’s tortured and killed reveal the Indian face stained monstrously. Is this sacrifice not enough to awake the conscience of the UN? The fact is that Kashmiris do not want to live under Indian dominance because the young and dear ones of nearly every Muslim family in Indian held Kashmir have been butchered by Indian armed forces. Truly, Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiris and no force can either turn them out from their native place or snatch their home land.

The Indian State has extremely been callous and cruel towards its Muslim population. They have shown maximum disrespect to the UN 1948 Resolution for plebiscite in Kashmir. Their appetite for war arsenal, conventional and nuclear, is insatiable. They have extremely been aggressive and belligerent, and have fought three wars against Pakistan in 1948-49, 1965, and 1971. In addition to these, Rann of Kutch, Siachen, limited Kargil war in 1999, and regular skirmishes keep reminding us that Indians have malicious designs against Pakistan.

It is an ironic turn of fate that the former Indian PM, who claimed to be a staunch pacifist-poet, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ordered a standoff of Indian armed forces, equipped with nuclear warheads on its western borders in Kashmir and Punjab for more than one year. Similarly, establishing new consulates in places like Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan which are located a few miles from Pakistani 1500 miles long western border or alluring and tempting the people of Balochistan against Pakistan is a highly menacing activity.

Very recently, the Pakistan-China Economy Corridor frustrated the Indian PM so much that he openly and unambiguously admitted, acknowledged and confirmed in threatening words that Indian army and civil authorities severed East Pakistan and created Bangladesh.

How to answer these threats and defeat vicious Indian propaganda is the next pertinent question that should be answered. It is high time for both countries to realize that if they ran out of conventional war options, the next nuclear alternative could result in complete annihilation. For Pakistan, this capability is based on twin principles: nuclear capability as deterrence and “Atoms for peace.” The Indian design is to prepare a world perception that nuclear command and control system of Pakistani is unstable and unsafe. The terrorists can approach, steal and misuse them. Almost successive attacks on sensitive Pakistani institutions and instillations such as Navy Head Quarters or Police Training Centers or schools of army personals’ children, mosques may have been allegedly conducted by Indian agents to justify their imaginings and false allegations.

The ugliest allegation is India holding Pakistan responsible for terrorism whereas the truth is that Pakistan has itself been a major victim of subversion. More than 35,000 innocent men, women and children have laid down their lives in the war on terror. Terrorism is not a product of Pakistan. The former PM of India, Indra Gandhi, was assassinated by two of her Sikh body guards in October 1984 as vindication of assault on Golden Temple, Amritsar. Her son, Rajiv Gandhi, who was also a PM of India, was assassinated by a suicide bomber May 21, 1991. Terrorism is the product of India where militant groups, nationalists, rebellious and secessionist movements such as Nagaland, Khalistan, Kashmir and many more have actively been involved in ambush and sabotage operations.

Another honourable result-oriented strategy for Pakistan is competition especially with India, not merely at ambassadorial level, but at the level of international forums and markets. If India can focus on production of sports goods to compete with sports equipment manufactured in Sialkot to negate almost monopoly status of Pakistan at international markets, why should Pakistani manufacturers feel shy of competing India in the fields of electronics, education, hotel business, food items or media and so on? India has gone to the extent of importing Pakistani rice in UAE and then re-exporting it to Europe under their own brand of Indian origin to show that Indian rice is as good as Pakistan’s. Pakistan should harness the potential with wealth of ideas and skills so as to compete in the area of research, curiosity and emerging sciences, which helps in dissemination of knowledge throughout all corners of the country.

Those who opine that Pakistan was created out of Indian Sub-continent and thus a portion had been cut from the motherland (which stretched from Peshawar to Chittagong in the time of King Asoka) fail to understand that this is no more Asoka’s times. The young generations of both countries are different in vision, sensibility and approach to life.

The US along with the UN should come forward and put forth sincere and wise efforts for its resolution. The onus of internal disturbance within Pakistan as after effect of the Afghan war equally falls on the US, and so US should generously assist its front line non-NATO ally not only financially but also technologically.

Both the countries should, abstain from indulging in skirmishes at the borders and clash of armed forces. Instead, they should concentrate more on the integration and well-being of their huge populations by improving their condition through educational and academic reforms, and most importantly, solve the Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of Kashmiris.

 The writer is an educationist based in Lahore.