New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) India and Pakistan must immediately end hostilities and the global community should intervene diplomatically if the threat of a non-conventional war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours is to be avoided, two leading Pakistani dailies said on Thursday.
“What should happen (next) is crystal clear: India and Pakistan should immediately cease hostilities; the international community should urgently intervene diplomatically; and at all costs, war between India and Pakistan must be avoided,” the Dawn said.
Islamabad’s military action on Wednesday “was not an escalation” but “arguably a necessary and proportionate response” after India bombed Pakistani territory a day earlier, it said in an editorial titled “Aiming for peace”.
“India must resist initiating another round of military action and the world must counsel restraint to India. From here, the distance towards unthinkable conflict and destruction could be shorter than war strategists, planners and decision-makers in either country recognise.”
In a nuclear age, “there could be mutual destruction on an incomprehensible scale if war breaks out. Whatever India’s compulsions, what goal could possibly justify potentially turning swathes of this region into uninhabitable wastelands and killing soldiers and citizens in numbers that could dwarf the combined losses in the two World Wars fought in the last century?
“India is enraged and unreasonable, Pakistan is aggrieved but resolute – and the world is rightly alarmed. The acute danger and risks of the current moment should not be underplayed.”
It said that “there is always an alternative to war in this region; India must recognise that and reach for peace”.
The Daily Times spoke in similar vein, the risk of a conventional war looms large in South Asian — since the events of Tuesday morning when the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training centres at Balakot in Pakistan.
“At this juncture, it is imperative that the international community should step up its efforts to de-escalate the situation in the region. A conflict between two nuclear-armed states is simply not an option the region, or the world community, can afford,” it said.
Holding that India’s “act of aggression” on Tuesday were “a blatant violation of the international law”, it urged Pakistan to show its commitment to peace to the international community by treating the captured IAF officer “in accordance with the Geneva Convention”.
The daily urged Islamabad to “expedite efforts against all individuals and groups known to have been involved in terrorist activities anywhere across the globe”.
In a separate editorial, the Daily Times said the fact that the economy was the biggest casualty of war was amply clear the way the Indian and Pakistani stock markets reacted on Wednesday — after the Pakistan Air Force intruded into Indian territory.
“The two states continue to spend billions every year in attempts to one-up each other in terms of military superiority, while millions of their citizens remain deprived of the basic amenities of life; including decent diets, potable water, education, healthcare, and shelter,” Daily Times said.
The News International also struck a conciliatory note.
“There are hopes that the skies over Pakistan and India will assume a calmer shade of blue as talk of de-escalation comes in from Pakistan, whose leaders have shown more awareness that war is simply not an option between the two nuclear-armed neighbours,” it said.
Noting that “the future of Kashmir is the key to this region’s peace”, it said that “any decision must be made according to the will of the Kashmiri people. This is a promise made to them by the international community”.