We are going through a difficult phase of grief, anger and resentment. The Pulwama terror attack has brought about a tsunami of emotions. There have only been a few times in the history of independent India that we have witnessed this kind of rage against Pakistan.

Pakistan must be dealt with firmly. There can be no doubt about the fact that those who challenge the sovereignty of our country while residing here should also be taught a lesson. But for this, it’s necessary that our reaction should be articulate. The world expects greater responsibility from India.

Imran Khan’s statement is an example of how shameless the leaders of Pakistan tend to be. After the Pulwama attack, he remained silent and on the fifth day when he broke his silence, what did he say? That our country has nothing to do with this attack. We ourselves are the victim of terrorism. If India wants, then we are ready for a dialogue. But if Pakistan is attacked, then we will retaliate.

We have been hearing the same thing from Pakistan’s leaders after every such attack. Pakistan’s politicians are always obliged to read the script prepared by the army. How can such people earn our trust?

We know that the limitations of the person occupying the prime ministerial seat in Pakistan are determined by the power centre at Rawalpindi.

Today, Khan is the victim of this. As far as Pakistan’s army is concerned, it has been living in denial. The present regime thinks that the contemporary global situation is in its favour. America needs Pakistan because it has been fighting in Afghanistan for past 18 years using Pakistan’s resources. And now, it needs an Islamabad-Rawalpindi tie-up to get itself out of this mess. China also needs Pakistan for the construction of its economic corridor and to establish its dominance over the Arabian Sea. Saudi Arabia too needs our neighbour’s help to deal with Iran.

In this confusion, Khan seems to have forgotten that the representatives of Masood Azhar, who is handled by the ISI, issued a statement immediately after the Pulwama attack taking responsibility for it. This audacity of the terrorists is the result of the protection of the Pakistani army.

However, India has made it clear that it is not about to compromise on this.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was in Islamabad last week and just to demonstrate to the world how informal and warm the relations between the two countries are, Khan himself drove the Crown Prince from the airport.

The meaning was clear. But what happened afterwards is more interesting. The Crown Prince wanted to come to New Delhi straight from Islamabad. But India requested him to go back to Saudi Arabia and come to New Delhi from there, instead of taking a straight flight from Islamabad. And that is what happened. Not only this, Mohammed bin Salman also criticized the Pulwama attack in his statement.

Meanwhile, more than 40 countries have praised and appreciated India’s stance. The US has openly condemned Pakistan. The UK and France have given the assurance that they will raise the issue in the United Nations to put pressure on Azhar. The question now arises, will China, which was shielding this dreaded terrorist, display any change in its Pakistan policy?

New Delhi can avenge Pulwama only when the conditions are positive on the domestic front. But some people here too don’t seem to realize that. One of them is Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy, who has made some unfortunate remarks on the issue.

People in such responsible positions should refrain from making such statements. They should be dealt with strictly.

Not only this, some people are making sarcastic comments on the Kashmiris living in rest of India. Dozens of Kashmiri students fled Dehradun out of fear. These distressed students found refuge in the gurdwaras of Mohali.

Isn’t this an insult to the memory of the security forces? By threatening Kashmiris, these people are contributing to destroying our unity and integrity.

State governments should deal with such elements with an iron hand. Do our rulers not understand that the separatists and the ISI alone will benefit from such careless statements?

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan. His Twitter handle is @shekarkahin

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