After every terrorist attack, there are political groups waiting to use the incident to fester nationalist and divisive sentiment for their own gains. We have seen this use of divisive rhetoric to cultivate fear among the masses against the “other”, either in order to justify going to war, or as a tactic by right-wing parties to win elections. Hatred sells and it has its best sales after a terrorist attack, when people’s emotions are high and vulnerable to exploitation.

We saw this phenomenon in action yesterday where the Indian media and administration launched a hate-mongering campaign against Pakistan, blaming Pakistan for the attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir. India’s Prime Minister Modi has warned Pakistan it will pay a “heavy price” for a suicide bombing in Kashmir and India’s finance minister said that all diplomatic measures would be taken to isolate Pakistan. India has revoked Pakistan’s “most favoured nation” status, which eased trade regulations between the two countries- indeed sentiment in India have been so vociferously anti-Pakistani that talk of war has emerged on some conversations in Indian media.

The Pulwama attack, where Indian paramilitaries were killed in a suicide car bombing, is a bold act of violence. Indian media claim that Jaish-e-Mohammad has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack - but a reported claiming is not credible evidence of Pakistan being responsible at all. It was a born-and-bred Kashmiri national, sickened by Indian brutalities in Kashmir, as a majority of Kashmiri youths are, who appeared to carry out this attack.

India needs to look to its own blood stained hands, and investigate the incident thoroughly before pointing fingers at Pakistan for political mileage. Pakistan is always willing to lend its expertise in the investigation, if India does not have the necessary capability; although it should be noted that India has failed to assist Pakistan in similar investigations when Kulbhushan Jadhav had been caught planning terrorist activities.

Pakistan’s response so far has been restrained- Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi unequivocally condemned the attacks and expressed sorrow that India had blamed Pakistan without any investigation. It is an apt reply- the loss of lives is indeed sorrowful, as is the Indian administration’s failure to learn from their mistakes in Kashmir, and the calculated attempt to use a tragedy to spread hatred amongst two nations with such similar culture and history.