By R Umaima Ahmed
Following a military confrontation with India in the disputed Kashmir region in late February, which left both the countries on the brink of all-out war, citizens took to social media to share experiences, counter disinformation, and to call for peace.
Relations between the two countries soured after a terror attack on the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 killed over 40 Indian soldiers. On February 26, India responded by bombing the village of Balakot, located inside the Pakistan-controlled area, which Pakistan retaliated by shooting down two Indian warplanes resulting in the death of two pilots and the capture of commander Abhinandan Varthman.
On March 1, Pakistan handed back
The two nuclear-armed
Pakistan’s airspace remained closed for more than a week before gradually reopening for domestic traffic on March 1. Flights along certain routes are still restricted. India has also closed down four airports for a brief period.
Fatima Ali Haider, the founder of the Grief Directory, which supports victims of violent extremism, was stuck in Karachi for a week while on her way back from Bangkok. As a single mother, she had left her six-year-old daughter at home with her mother-in-law. I have spoken to her, and this is what she told me:
“I got stuck in a foreign country and that also to attend a conference which was on a topic of relevance. I had left my daughter behind and it was an emotionally traumatic experience.
My daughter also wanted to know why I wasn’t able to come home and when I told her, she asked me why India and Pakistan couldn’t be friends since it was easier to be friends than enemies.”
Omar Badi-uz-Zaman posted on Facebook about the ordeal faced by his mother’s teacher who was visiting Pakistan from India. After her sister passed away, she was unable to fly back to India, and train service had also been canceled, Badi-uz-Zaman said.
While people in Sialkot and parts of Karachi reportedly said they were told to stay indoors, the government has not issued an official statement.
This article was originally published on Global Voices.
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