The Gurdaspur terror attack has cast a shadow on the peace talks with India but that's the last thing the young in Pakistan want. A generation that time has insulated from the pangs of Partition and to which the internet has opened a window to a world beyond borders, says: We are fighting our own war against terror in Pakistan, why would we wish it for you (India)?
Zuhair Shabbir, 26, a radio jockey in Lahore, told Hindustan Times over phone: "Such attacks are carried out by non-state actors to disrupt the peace process. People in Pakistan believe there are some who benefit from this prolonged bitter relationship between the two countries. But there is no animosity among the youth. I have friends in India thanks to the internet and we want peace."
The youth in Pakistan reiterate that India isn't the only victim of terror. Ali Jan Awan, 24, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly North-West Frontier Province, who works in a construction firm said, "How can we ever get over the killing of 132 schoolchildren in Peshawar last December? It still haunts us."
Asked about the global positioning system (GPS) found on the three terrorists in Gurdaspur indicating they had infiltrated from Pakistan, Faizan Raja, 23, a lawyer from Lahore, said, "Terrorists are non-state actors. The GPS shows they came in from Pakistan but not that they belonged to Pakistan. Divorcing stereotypical ideas associated with a terrorist is a prerequisite for fighting terrorism."
68 years after Independence, India and Pakistan continue to grapple with issues of mutual trust and co-operation. (HT file photo)
Faateh Ali Dhillon, 23, a law student in Pakistan Punjab's Khudian town, says, "The terrorists coming in from Pakistan is a realistic possibility. However, considering the event took place on the Punjab border, there is a probability that there was local aid involved. One needs to remember that there have always been parties in play that want a destabilised relationship between Pakistan and India."
The sentiment was echoed on this side of the border, too. Khintan Preet Kaur, 23, a postgraduate student from Amritsar, said, "We shouldn't jump the gun and blame Pakistan yet. Let the investigation unfold without prejudice."
As leaders grapple with trust and netizens join the blame game , it's refreshing to hear the voice of educated youth of both countries who are keen to give peace a chance and bury the bitter past.
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