It has taken Pakistan years of sacrifice to reach the position that it has today. Pakistan is a country that was maligned as a rogue state that harboured terrorism, a country which India portrayed as a warmongering state, irresponsible and immature- what is unfortunate is that the world believed its rhetoric.

Yet today we are proud Pakistanis, not only within Pakistan but in front of the world. We appear as a mature and responsible nation, with a new image that the comity of nations needs to see and respect; one which international media needs to report on if it wants to maintain its credibility. Ironically, we have none other than India to thank for that!

Today India looks like a pigmy in front of Pakistan.

The two traditional enemies, forced together by geography alone, have always been at loggerheads towards each other. Through the years, as India progressed as one of the largest democracies, our history remained more chequered. As a young nation, we made mistakes and received flak for it internationally.

For years, India was seen as the stable, level –headed democracy, at least outwardly, until Modi came and removed the smoke screen for all to see. Riding on a crest of hate against non-Hindus in general and Pakistan in particular, he showed the India that had been so successfully camouflaged by their media before. Modi’s biggest credential was his religious zeal and his animosity towards Pakistan and he took no measures to hide his sentiments.

February 27th,2019 was a cursed day for India and its Air Force.

Perhaps they were emboldened by their misadventures of the night before; perhaps they wanted to teach Pakistan a lesson. Whatever it was, they certainly underestimated the strength of the enemy. When they had invaded our air-space before and dropped bombs, Pakistan had vowed retaliation, quietly and menacingly, but they took it lightly. Goaded on by a frenzied media and a belligerent leader, they provided an excellent opportunity to our Air force and our country to give a befitting response to their intervention.

When Pakistan called for peace a night before, it was shown by Indian media as begging for peace out of fear. But after Pakistan hit 6 targets across the border, deliberately protecting life and property, just as a show of force to demonstrate to India that we have equal capability to hit targets on their sides if need be, when our Air force shot down two invading Indian aircraft, one of which fell inside Pakistan-held Kashmir, when our army rescued the Indian pilot from the attacking mob and showed him sipping a cup of tea on TV and singing praises of our forces, things were much different.

The proof of naked Indian aggression was there for all to see. India saw its Air force faltering. It saw another helicopter crash on its own, killing several soldiers with it. India saw its leaders lying openly about their aircraft destroying militant camps inside Pakistan and killing 350 terrorists, it saw its media lie about downing a Pakistani F16 when those aircraft were never used by Pakistan and they could obviously not show its wreckage to prove their claim.

On one side was Modi, standing in front of the pictures of Indian troops killed earlier in a bomb attack in Kashmir, spewing hatred against Pakistan;  on the other side was Imran Khan , cool and calm, asking for evidence for Pakistani involvement in recent terror attacks and offering to join hands to catch the terrorists. He could have also splashed pictures of the thousands of troops killed on our side, of the attack on GHQ, of the attack on our army training centres, of the attacks on our school children, but he chose to speak of terrorists as enemies of both countries. He chose to speak of giving peace a chance.

Modi was drumming up war mantra, obviously as his electioneering campaign, while Imran Khan spoke of peace, not because we were afraid of war since we have been already at war for many years now, but because we thought that was the more sensible and mature way to go forward. If they are a nuclear state, so are we. Our armed forces might be smaller in numbers but equal if not better in capability, as proved so well by them.

India speaks of destroying terrorists yet goes to the International Court of Justice to protect its own citizen, Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian officer who was caught in Pakistan and admitted his involvement in killing innocent Pakistanis. He is still in our custody.

It is clear which country is the unnecessary aggressor and violator of international law here. It is a country that feeds untruths to its people to drum up hatred and calls for war; a country that wants to rule Kashmir by force and militancy and yet when its soldiers are attacked by suicide bombers, instead of doing some soul searching, they point their usual fingers towards Pakistan, the easy scapegoat that they accuse of all their problems; a country where all citizens including artists, sportsmen, intellectuals and particularly media explode in a frenzy of hate against Pakistan, led by their elected leader.

Pakistan, by comparison, appeared sober and sensible. Our media rightfully celebrated the befitting response to Indian aggression, but did not go overboard. Our leaders, our forces, our stars and citizens called for peace instead of war and did not gloat our success in this latest face off. While the Indian opposition came out openly against Modi, our opposition, armed forces and establishment appeared on the same page so far as national cause was concerned.

We have been in a state of war for years now. We have seen more than 70,000/- of our citizens killed in the war against terror. We take the plummeting of stock markets, burying of the dead, imminent danger to life and property in our stride. India has yet to learn these lessons.

Crying out for war is easy. This is not Star Wars or Indian cinema where their heroes always win and have the last laugh. So beware India. Our army is battle-hardened and experienced. Death is coveted and looked upon with honour by them.

If we have to fight, let us fight against poverty, terrorism and illiteracy. India might be the largest democracy but a large number of its people live and die on the streets, something Pakistan thankfully does not suffer from.

Let us fight it out on the stage of sports and save our energies, resources and our citizens for a better tomorrow and not for war.

Today, as our leaders, our forces and our people speak of reason and peace, with their heads held high, we have to thank India for giving us cause to celebrate that we are proud Pakistanis.