Pakistan celebrated 23rd March, the Republic Day, with much pomp and circumstance. The sky was lit with colours of freedom and celebration, thanks to the Pakistan Air Force with its many fly-demonstrations; there was the annual military parade, where men, women and children alike gathered to witness the show of might of our military.

This Pakistan’s Day was celebrated with perhaps more zeal and sentiment than past years due to the close showdown we had with India just a few weeks back. The regard for our sovereignty could be felt in the speeches of different leaders at the Islamabad parade held in honour of the day, with President Arif Alvi’s speech’s standing out. In what some construed as a message to India, President Alvi said that Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state which wanted peace, not war but its desire for peace must not be interpreted as weakness.

Perhaps this speech was a response to Indian Prime Minister Modi, who appears to be having a change of heart. After spewing anti-Pakistan rhetoric in the aftermath of Pulwama and irresponsibly letting the situation nearly escalate to war, Modi seems to be turning a new leaf as he surprised us with a Pakistan’s Day gift- according to a tweet of Prime Minister Imran, Modi sent him a message wishing Pakistan a happy Republic Day and said it was time for the people of the Sub-continent to work together for a ‘peaceful, progressive and prosperous’ region.

Why the sudden shift of tone? Has Modi finally awaken to the fact that the rest of the world did not appreciate the violent anti-Pakistan sentiment that Modi stoked in his country, leading to a potential nuclear war? Perhaps US President Donald Trump’s recent show of approval of Pakistan was the ignition which led the Indian Prime Minister to realise that he was causing India disadvantage by escalating tensions. Is the recent goodwill message an example of Modi having sensed the changing direction of the wind and adjusting his sails?

While we appreciate the Indian Prime Minister’s gesture, it would be better if he act on his words and demonstrated his goodwill. There are reports that Pakistan Day was discouraged from being celebrated in certain areas of India by government officials. The Lahore Resolution stood for an end to religious discrimination, for freedom and inclusivity for the Muslims of the subcontinent, and these are causes which should be respected regardless of inter-state conflicts.