Tuesday 5 March 2019 3:55 AM UTC
LONDON March 4: Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan, while some have focused on a warmongering narrative, Indian and Pakistani scholars and students of Oxford University demonstrated solidarity at the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford on Saturday at 3.30 pm.
Hostilities between the two countries increased following a suicide car bombing on 14 February that killed at least 42 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of harbouring the Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM) terror outfit that claimed responsibility of bombing.
Indian aircraft carried out air strikes on 26 February inside Pakistan’s Balakot and three other locations on what New Delhi called “militant camps”. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with its own aerial mission.
The Oxford South Asian Society also issued a joint statement by Indian and Pakistani students, calling for de-escalation of tensions.
Here’s the full text of Indian and Pakistani Oxford Students’ joint statement in Solidarity for Peace:
We are a group of Indian and Pakistani students at the University of Oxford who are deeply disturbed by the escalation of tensions about an impending war between India and Pakistan.
We strongly condemn the suicide bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14, 2019 which claimed the lives of around 44 Indian soldiers. We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
As students in a land that is foreign to our homes – India and Pakistan – we’ve always marvelled at how we seamlessly gravitate towards each other, and how we are able to come together in community in ways we can’t back home.
We often talk about the similarities we share in our food, culture, histories and the challenges we face. The Indo-Pak community has emerged as a place of refuge and comfort for us. However, when we imagine visiting each other’s homes we realise all the ways in which visas and politics restrict us.
As we sit together now, watching the increasingly violent direction the current discourse is taking, we are frightened.
We come from parts of the world where the rhetoric of war isn’t new, and its consequences aren’t abstract. War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests who feed on hatred and fear. It is the people who never wish for war that face its repercussions.
It is a luxury to be able to debate the possibility of war when the death, grief, and loss that accompany it are not part of your everyday. For some people, especially the already dispossessed, the human cost of war is no cliché. It is lived reality.
We urge our fellow Pakistanis and Indians both within and outside the subcontinent to stand together in unity, focus on our commonalities, and reject divisive narratives.
We call upon the leaders of our countries to develop de-escalation protocols, organise constructive peace talks and dialogue for the resolution of all bilateral issues.
War and warmongering are always unequivocally deplorable. At a time when India and Pakistan are lurching from crisis to crisis, we condemn the irresponsible rhetoric flooding the media in both countries in the strongest possible terms.
We dare to imagine a future that is free of divisions and violence, and unshadowed by the politics of war. We refuse to succumb to this environment of fear and suspicion. We refuse to see our friends as enemies. We refuse to hate those we hold dear. This is not our war.
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