Think of Pakistan today, and this is the image that comes immediately to mind.
A Country that harboured and bred terrorists of all kinds in the last many decades. And by Country, I mean those who matter - the politicians, and the military.
The 35 terror camps that exist today, do so, because the intent was to cause harm through 'low intensity' and 'proxy' war against India - an campaign that commenced as a consequence of the vision of General Zia-ul-Haq when he was President and Chief Matrial Law Administrator of Pakistan.
India was made out to be, and is still perceived as Pakistan's enemy No.1
Pakistani's were generally unfazed and not bothered till the time the terrorists kept attacking and killing thousands of innocents in Kashmir. The terror game was extended to other parts of India. Then 26/11 happened, perhaps the most bold and audacious attempt, that left 160 people dead.
All concrete evidence pointed towards terrorists sitting inside Pakistan, who masterminded and directed the entire operation for three days. Six years later, not only has Pakistan not arrested or prosecuted these terrorists, they have shown no intention of doing so, not even at the risk of losing opportunities to build bi lateral relations with India by addressing the latter's concerns. Pakistan till date remains in a state of denial.
Then 16/12 happened in Peshawar
In the worst carnage in recent times in that country, seven terrorists entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, a school run by the Pakistan Army, situated quite close to some Army formations in the City. Completely focused with a cold blooded approach typical of the most hardened terrorists, they went from classroom to classroom, and sprayed bullets on innocent small children and their teachers. Before the Army eliminated these seven men, more than 150 people died in the School, most of them children.
This was the worst tragedy Pakistan ever saw, in supposedly peace time. India, till now the biggest victim of Pakistan sponsored terrorism, responded with huge gestures of compassion and empathy. Prime Minister Modi called on his counter part and offered condolences. Schools in India, and the Indian Parliament now in session, observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect. Candle light vigils were organised in Delhi, to express solidarity with the victims' families.
India's symbolic gestures moved the Pakistani civil society. Thousands of messages went back and forth across the border on the social media, expressing solidarity with each other, and recognising that terrorism has not nationality, and that this was a war against humanity.
It is time the average Pakistani learns some key lessons based on these recent incidents and tragedies.
Lesson 1 : India is not your enemy. Neither does India bear any ill will towards Pakistan. India want to live in a peaceful environment with all its neighbours.
Look at your neighbour as your friend. Many common problems that both Countries face today, can be solved through cooperation and sharing or resources. Recognise this.
Lesson 2: Terrorism should be completely eliminated from the basic fabric of Pakistan. People like Haafiz Saeed and Lakhvi exist because they manage to garner support of anti India campaigns. Their existence is in no way going to benefit your Country in the long run. As they say, there is strength in unity. Unite together to pressurise the State to book these people for the crimes they have committed against Indians and Pakistani alike. The power behind an awakening and an uprising is only underestimated.
Lesson 3 : Support India from within, in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to book. If this happens, this would be the singularly most significant, sincere act of friendship by Pakistan, towards India. And this in turn would benefit Pakistan the most.
There is no greater power of influence than the peoples of the two Countries uniting for a cause.
Wouldn't you want less hostility and hawkish stands between the two people?
And more friends across the border?