ONCE again a tit-for-tat trend has begun between Pakistan and India that have been trying for the last decade to become friendly neighbours.
Indian terrorist Sarabjit Singh, who was involved in bomb blasts that killed 14 people in 1990 in Lahore and Faisalabad, was later sentenced to death by a Pakistani court. He languished for about 22 years in jail and was recently attacked by fellow inmates in the Kot Lakhpat jail. He was taken to hospital but died from wounds on May 2.
In response, Indians called this act ‘barbaric’ and demanded punishment for the attackers. Later, Sanaullah Haq, a Pakistani languishing in an Indian jail, was attacked by an ex-Indian army man. He died on Thursday (May 9).
The two nations can overcome their hostility not by people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges but by showing seriousness towards normalising their relations, keeping in view their nuclear status.
The terms for normalising relations should be based on equal status of both countries, keeping aside their hegemonic positions or designs in the region.
Equality doesn’t mean that if one prisoner is killed by someone not among the state authorities, the other country should retaliate by conducting the same act unjustly.
The trend of tit for tat will lead the two countries nowhere and the ultimate consequence can be an allout war which both countries have experienced in the past. The three wars between India and Pakistan didn’t produce any result but increased rivalry.
The idea of responding in the same manner might appease some fanatics in both countries but in the long term it will affect bilateral relations.
Neighbours cannot be changed in the international community but relations can be transformed from hostile to friendly.
A small issue can worsen the relations between the two hostile nations like calling on the high commissioners in each other’s offices, then closing of high commission offices, and closing and bringing troops to borders. A little issue may trigger a big war that can claim thousands of lives and use of weapons worth billions of rupees.
It has been quite deplorable to see the two different responses from the media of both countries.
The Indian media created loads of fuss on Sarabjit’s killing. The Pakistani media also showed its sympathies for the Indian spy on his death but there was deafening silence by the Pakistan media on the attack on Pakistani prisoner in Jammu jail.
The Indian media proved to be blind nationalist with its rapturous welcoming tone over the attack on a Pakistani.
FEHMIDA ABDUL SATTAR Karachi