Whenever tensions run high along the ‘Line of Control’ between India and Pakistan, too many people start to believe that war is definite. But would a nation like Pakistan, which is now more than ever involved in war on terror, survive it?
I do not mean to sound hopeless, rather realistic. Our country is already engaged in too much bloodshed that comes from fighting against several people and groups. I.e. the war on terror, war against militant groups, Shia-Sunni fights and fights based on provincial identity. Does winning a war with India seem a possibility? My opinion seems to be quite positive as we all have confidence in our armed forces. We should know that war will be instigated by India, not us, because we are constantly assured of this point by our ever-calm government. And that just might be our plus point, as history reminds us that in the recent era all countries that started a war did not succeed or did not attain the victory they had hoped. But in comes a major point, both countries are nuclear powers and in the atomic age war between nuclear powers is suicidal. It has become almost normal to say that the atomic age has altered the nature of war. No nuclear power can tell another, “do as I say or I shall kill you,” but that has been changed to, “do as I say or I shall kill us both.”
Everyone must know that the face of war, with its relentless horror, threatens to destroy anyone who looks at it for long. Yet we must find the courage to overcome it in any form when it emerges, civil or national, internal or external. War is sickness, though it may be man’s ‘sickness unto death’. No murderous epidemic has ever been conquered without exposure, pain and danger. But in the end human reason and courage have always prevailed and even the plague was overcome. The Black Death that wrecked our planet centuries ago today is but a distant memory.
It is very common to assume that war is not a sickness, but like aggression, an irremovable part of human nature. I disagree. Aggression may be inherent but war is learned behavior.
Humans have stopped doing acts that previously seemed impossible to shed. For example, thousands of years ago, humans ate one another and drank one another’s blood. That, too, was part of human nature. Even a brief century ago, millions of Americans believed that God had made white people to be free and black people to be slaves. Why else would He have created them in different colors? Yet slavery, once considered to be part of human nature, was abolished because human beings showed capacity for change. Change came slowly, after immense suffering, but it did come. Human nature had been changed because it can be. Like slavery, war too can be removed from man’s arsenal of horrors.
It seems that people abandon their bad habits only when catastrophe is close at hand. Why is it that we have to be shaken, almost shattered, before we change? A dangerous illness must come and must pass before it is known whether the patient will live or die.
We Pakistanis must awaken from our careless sleep and take care of the very country we live in, because the danger of losing identity is upon us, but so is the opportunity to positively enhance it. We must make an effort to look India’s intentions in the face and warn them to not take our calm and collectiveness for granted though in doing so we must stay clear of provoking them in any way. We must diagnose this murderous malady raising head among the Indians and many other nations on this planet. Diagnosis is no cure, of course, but it is the first and most necessary step.
In the end, the most important point is that in history majority of those who started a war took a beating. Neither the nature nor the ideology of the government made any difference. Aggressors were defeated whether they were nationalists or not, white or non-white, Westerners or non-Westerners, rich or poor.
For the two neighboring countries, as for any other in the world, war will prove to be instantaneous death.
By: Fatima Arshad