A week has passed since I wrote International isolation looms as Pakistan continues to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ non-state actors. For me it was just another day at the job. I wasn’t expecting any kind of reaction because the mentioned piece of writing, for me, was an attempt to better my writing skills.

When I came to work the next day, I saw a picture of the notorious Hafiz Saeed under the most popular category. At first I didn’t realise that my piece had made it to that spot. Without any more deliberation, I opened the link. Not only did the blog make it to the most popular category, it was also the one with most comments.

I felt a sense of personal fulfillment. Being an introvert, I never feel like sharing achievements with my fellow. On that particular day, however, I decided to break ‘kayfabe’. I shared the link with my fellows and continued with the routine work. Few hours into my duty and I got a text from one of my colleagues that The Times of India had shared my piece.

I was thrilled at first because, for me, it was one of those rare moments of achievement. I opened TOI’s website and read their version of my piece. The title, 'We are on verge of global isolation', Pakistani media warns government and security agencies, looked a bit odd to me.

After going through TOI’s version of my piece, I began to look into the most difficult and hilarious part: the comments. Difficult because you are never sure what’s in store for you in the comments section; hilarious because there is an endless war of words among ‘brains’, with no logical conclusion.

Of course, there were tonnes of praises from across the border; some praised 'Pakistani media’s bravery'; TOI’s version made me realise that I now represent whole of the Pakistani media. Others credited the ‘Modi effect’ for the ‘sudden’ change. To a few ‘patriots’, however, Manik Aftab was a ‘traitor’ and a ‘Raw agent’.

To all the ones who emailed me, I appreciate their feedback.

Back in the comments section of The Nation, someone mentioned about “1000 more dollars” in my bank account “to publish confirmation of Indian fake surgical strike”.

I am still trying to trace those $1,000.

Back home, my folks told me not to write about things “that will get you into trouble”. They came up with every news item they could of the missing persons. I thought they were trying to convince me by using fear tactics. To them I was no Hamid Mir. To me, well, they were no Batman. My friends were of the view that my writing did strike, but it struck at the wrong time.

Perhaps I should avoid controversy at such cold times, when two nuclear-armed neighbours are on the verge of declaring a war on each other; when Pakistani artistes are being refused entry into Bollywood; when social media hatred is at its peak; when claim are being made that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’, although the former is an internationally recognised disputed territory.

Nah! I’ll just keep on writing. Not for polarising a few idiots, but for myself. My sincere apologies, haters!