It is undeniable that compared with India, Pakistan’s news media, government officials and politicians played a much more mature and composed role in a spiral of escalation. If the Indian media machine was responsible for creating war frenzy, ours is equally responsible for ensuring that the Pakistani populace adopted a nuanced stance of united determination, backed by calls for peace.

Given our fractured politics and sensational media practices, this is a minor miracle, and must be commended thoroughly.

However, this does not mean that there was no warmongering or hate speech on our side of the border. It may have been drowned out by the saner voices, but it was certainly present and very problematic. From news anchors dressed in military fatigues to TV hosts going on flights of rhetoric fancy glorifying military action, there have been isolated incidents that mirror some of the worst practices of Indian media channels. However, the most troubling episodes in this process have been those where nationalism has been equated with being Muslim, and Hindus have been maligned as religion. This is where our state should stand up and take notice; dressing in army fatigues is a deplorable gimmick; denouncing Hindus is hate speech that deserves legal censure.

While there have been a few voices – mostly on social media – who have painted the recent escalation as a continuation of an imagined Hindu-Muslim conflict that supposedly defined the subcontinent, being individuals they don’t pose a major problem. It is when government officials like Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan , who is the current Provincial Minister of Punjab for Information and Culture, take up the same toxic narrative that it becomes a problem. His derogatory comments about Hindus, and his assertion that Muslims are superior is the definition of religious hate speech . Calling Hindus “urine drinkers” and “idol worshipers” is highly condemnable, and coming from man who is supposed to the minister of culture in Punjab, it is highly uncultured. Perhaps Mr Chohan has forgotten that there are over 4 million Hindus in Pakistan who consider themselves proud Pakistanis, not to mention that there are several Hindu Members of Parliament is his party. Perhaps he should consult them about his comments.

How is Mr Chohan different from the anchors on Indian television that imply Muslims are terrorists by nature?

He isn’t – and just as Republic TV and News 18 in India have been made to apologise for their anti-Muslim comments, so must Mr Chohan.