#SayNoToWar: Calls for peace amid India-Pakistan tensions

Activists, celebrities urge both governments to avoid military confrontation as tensions rise near disputed region.

A man looks at a television screen, after Pakistan shot down two Indian planes, at a shop in Karachi
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since gaining independence from British rule in 1947 [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

There are growing calls for peace and military restraint on social media as tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan after two Indian fighter jets were shot down over Pakistani airspace in Pakistan-administered Kashmir

Politicians, celebrities, rights groups and social media users from both countries urged their governments to refrain from a military confrontation, with the hashtag #SayNoToWar trending worldwide on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country is ready for dialogue with India and reiterated the need for a “better sense to prevail”.

“I am addressing India. It is very important that we use wisdom,” Khan said in a televised address, emphasising that several countries have ended up at war in the past due to a lack of dialogue.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since gaining independence from British rule in 1947.

Two of them have been over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which India and Pakistan rule in part but claim in full as their own.

“More than ever, it is now critical that both India and Pakistan show restraint, and heed all those calling for mature diplomacy rather than provocation and aggression. The right to life starts here,” the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said. 

The risk of an all-out conflict increased dramatically on Tuesday when India launched air raids on what it said was a training camp for Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) fighters days after the Pakistan-based armed group claimed a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir, which killed at least 42 Indian paramilitary forces on February 14.

Pakistan’s military, having vowed to respond, launched air raids at six targets in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday.


At least four Pakistani civilians were killed late on Tuesday in cross-border fire. 

But many have voiced their concern over the loss of civilian lives if an all-out conflict takes place between the two nuclear-armed nations. 

“If war between India and Pakistan happens, destruction would be so huge, neither side would be able to ascertain who has won but humanity will lose,” wrote Shubham Sahu on Twitter. 

Pakistani actress Nadia Jamil said: “Truth is war is not just a wrestling match of pinning each other down … India and Pakistan need to see each other as equals and respect that we will end up killing soldiers and not empowering our poor masses.” 

Indian travel blogger Manish Shaarma called on both governments to come to the table and work towards peace.

“But no war because it costs lives and money, and moreover, humanity gets destroyed,” he added.


Others alluded to the fact that both countries should instead wage a war against illiteracy, poverty unemployment and violence.

“India and Pakistan both are suffering from thousands of issues like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, castism, untouchability, income inequality and many others. We should fight against the issues not each other,” wrote Kevalsinh Rathod, a Gujarat-based youth leader and social activist.

Source: Al Jazeera