The relations between India and Pakistan have always been sore. Ever since Partition where two independent countries were carved out of the great subcontinent as two competing ideologies; both the Pakistanis and Indians have not forgiven each otherfor this separation. This separation is multi-faceted and is best described as a competition in dominating Central Asia. While Pakistanis are still emotional over the Sikh infidelities on the Muslim migrants and the ill division of resources and assets at the time of Partition, both countries see each other as potent threats deeply driven in the cultural baggage that is being carried since the first Mughal fight with the Hindu Marathas. Presently, the two land locked countries have been fighting an endless war over the region of Kashmir that spreads through both of them. This coupled with the infiltration of beliefs such as ‘us against them’ has created a monstrosity that is hate culture in both the countries. The leaderships in both the countries have been successively unable to see each other as countries that share the same history, culture and some traditions and have continuously failed to cooperate diplomatically.

While some suggest that since the conflicts of the 21st century are to be dominated by the control of precious resources, the Kashmir dispute seems to remain at a standstill for years to come.

Skirmishes along the borders of India and Kashmir have been a norm for a long time now; since open war seems unlikely as both countries have nuclear arsenal. With both countries hostile to each other, the scapegoat for Pakistan has always been the Indian aggression in Kashmir and that for India has been the isolation of Balochistan from mainstream politics. While the atrocities committed by the Indians in Kashmir are unjustifiable; it won’t be wrong to say that the efforts by Pakistanis on diplomatic forums have been half-hearted and the narrative has been more Pak-centric than Kashmiri.

Since August of last year India has been in continuous violation of the LOC as has become the norm and killed more than 80 civilians in August alone. While India is internationally accused of its atrocities against the Kashmiris with the employing of 0.6 million army personnel in the region; committed to wrongfully killing, torturing and raping Kashmiris, the situation escalated in June last year after Indian paramilitaries gunned down a 21-year-old militant. Since then the Kashmir Valley has seen its deadliest violence in the last six years. More than 80 civilians have been killed in clashes with police, who have been accused of using excessive force. India blames Pakistan for stoking the violence, although Pakistan denies it.

Following mass organized protests in Pakistan by some prominent political parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with the Hurriyat leaders of Kashmir on 17, September, 2016 and assured them that he would raise the Kashmir dispute at the UN in a forceful manner. The Kashmir issue has almost always been a part of the statements by the Pakistani side at the UNGA meetings. Anticipating a strong statement from Pakistan on Kashmir, Indian media said “a befitting reply” was being prepared by the Indian government for the session.

Four gunmen stormed an Indian army brigade headquarters in the Indian-administered town of Uri, killing 18 soldiers on 18, September, 2016. Many called it the deadliest attack on security forces in nearly a decade. Nobody has claimed responsibility but Prime Minister Narendra Modi'sgovernment accused Pakistan of involvement, labeling it a terrorist state for supporting militants. India claims the gunmen were members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a terror group based in Pakistan and known for brutal tactics in India-controlled Kashmir to force the withdrawal of troops.

Indian media started to thrash Pakistan in attempts to create a terror of war while the Pakistanis took the criticisms more critically and vowed to take all measures necessary to protect Pakistan. While the tensions between the two countries mounted,Pakistan Air Force started their preparations along the Lahore-Islamabad motorway and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to the UN General Assembly on 21, September, 2016 and raised the Kashmir issue and the plight of the Kashmiris.  PM Nawaz Sharif was the most eloquent at the UN and was greatly praised by the people at home and his mention of Burhan Wani as a peace aspiring Kashmiri leader created a sense of cohesion amongst the civil and military leaderships which occurred to many as a ray of hope.

Since then Pakistanis have put aside any confusion or misgivings they had about the eventual conflict and have geared up to stand with the state no matter the consequences. While interviewing people I was assured at all times that they supported the Pakistani narrative that the Uri Attacks were a manifestation of Indian propaganda to present Pakistan as an aggressor in the Kashmir Dispute; just days before PM Nawaz was to take this matter to UNGA.

Most Pakistanis agree that India is unjustly killing unarmed Kashmiris; there are varying views about the inevitability of an open war. During my various interviews, pupils of political science were adamant that an all-out war between the two nuclear giants of Central Asia is not a possibility at any time. Some also asserted that Pakistan being strategically located as it is; is too important a state too fail. Evidence of this can be seen in the persistent involvement of countries like China, organizations like OIC and leader of unipolar world United States in urging both countries to solve the matter diplomatically. My fellows have reiterated one too many times the force with which Pakistan is recognized against India (albeit ignored more times) by the international community is idiosyncratic to  vigor the with which Pakistan takes challenges head on. While PM Nawaz is criticized for his inability to clarify his position over the Kashmir Dispute all through his three tenures, Pakistan is a force to be reckoned with whatever may the leadership be.

Mr. Shafqat Hussain Chaudhry, a prominent professor of political science, said “India is trying to bully Pakistan with these limited outbursts and unless the situation conflagrates, there won’t be an all-out war. And even if there is a war, Pakistan Army would do anything to protect their country and India would have to suffer greater losses.” His statement was one with which many students like myself agreed and attach special importance because of the brilliance of battle hardened army that aims to serve its people. With a self-assuring tone, Mr. Hussain narrated an incident from 1966, few months after the war when he met General Musa Khan who had served as the Commander in Chief in the 1965 war. The general said, “It is the man behind the gun that matters; not the gun itself.” To Mr. Hussain the myth that the Pakistan Army kills two men with one bullet was colloquially true but one that reassured his confidence in his country.

Mr. Hussain further stated that “These diversion tactics along the LOC are only to subordinate the issue of Kashmir and present Pakistan as an unstable state in the international arena and keep Pakistan away from the Gulf countries.” He further described India as US’ tool to bring down the economic miracle, CPEC.

While PM Narendra Modi has tried to set hisposition as a precedent for all Indians to be able to achieve anything; much like the American Dream his rhetoric is very unpopular amongst the masses on both sides of the border. This is probably because of his pro-aggression stance masked as pro-nationalist. Realizing this, my fellows know and recognize the aggressor, the unjust India as a real threat to peace in the region and view Pakistan as a facilitator and a negotiator for Kashmir.

Following the mass shootings at the LOC where India violates the covenants of 1972 Simla Agreement, Pakistanis recognize their martyrs and honor them for their commitment to protecting our borders. Together we stand with our leadership in protecting Pakistan; whether there is a possibility of an open war or not Pakistanis are ready to uphold Pakistan as an independent state irrespective of any internal turmoil that may appear to be thwarting the development of Pakistan as a strong an independent state.