Situation would improve after May, hope many Pakistanis

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By Radhika Bhirani 

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Hawks will give a very tough time to doves. That’s how a Pakistani official captured the sentiment as India struck at terror camps in Pakistan on Tuesday in retaliation for the February 14 attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

The pre-dawn air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan is being lauded by Indians.

What is the mood on the other side of the border? 

“The general view in Pakistan is that it’s all happening because of Indian elections (upcoming Lok Sabha elections). So it is expected that things may improve after May. But till then we’ll go back many years in time as far as bilateral ties are concerned. The warming of relations after Kartarpur seems to have disappeared already. Hawks will give very tough time to doves here,” the Pakistani government official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Just days before the Pulwama attack which left 40 CRPF troopers dead, it was announced that a team from Pakistan would visit India on March 13 to discuss and finalise the modalities for the visit of pilgrims to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahab through the Kartarpur corridor.

Pakistan on Tuesday reacted strongly to the IAF strike, with its leaders threatening a “befitting response” to India and Prime Minister Imran Khan directing the country’s armed forces and citizens to “remain prepared for all eventualities”.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told citizens that the country is in safe hands and he will never let it down.

“May good sense prevail on both sides,” Fakhr Alam, actor, musician, pilot and former Sindh Censor Board Chairman, told IANS.

“The future of our children is at stake. War is never a solution, only dialogue is. But if war is imposed, then every peaceful nation will rally to take on any threat. I hope India doesn’t get consumed by this hate and war rhetoric. It seems domestic political pressure in India is unnecessarily risking regional peace and stability.

“I hope for the true interest of people on both sides this drumming of war hysteria is contained and the media focuses on bringing important issues to the forefront like corruption, healthcare, education, poverty alleviation and so forth. Peace is a very valuable commodity and we should all work to protect it,” added Alam.

Film trade and cultural exchanges have already taken a beating.

Indian film associations have instructed producers to avoid working with Pakistani talent as well as not to release their films there. Indian music labels have been asked to pull down songs featuring Pakistani talent and Indian talent like Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur, who were to visit Pakistan for cultural events, cancelled their plans in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

All through, Pakistani artistes, who have found a lot more fame via Indian films, failed to condemn any attack against India.

Actress Mahira Khan, who has acted in Bollywood film “Raees” and found popularity with the show “Humsafar”, however, after India attacked terror camps on Tuesday, tweeted: “Nothing uglier. Nothing more ignorant than cheering for war. May sense prevail.. Pakistan zindabad.”