India is currently facing a critical period where the spread of the pandemic has resulted in a huge loss of precious lives. On a daily basis, hundreds of people are testing positive. Sadly, one death every four minutes is being reported only in Delhi.
The WHO has described the terrible situation in India as “beyond heart-breaking”. The Indian media is broadcasting horrific news reports in which ambulances are shifting large numbers of dead bodies of Covid-19 victims to perform their last rites. Unfortunately, many helpless people are still in search of oxygen.
Pakistan and India share a glorious history of struggle against British imperialism. Even today, many freedom fighters including Bhagat Singh, Hasrat Mohani, Mangal Pandey and Kadu Makrani live in the hearts of the people of both countries.
Today, the tragic crisis in India has brought tears in the eyes of all peace-loving Pakistani nationals. Keeping their differences aside, people are expressing solidarity with the Indian people. The offer of help by the government of Pakistan to the Indian people in this hour of need is highly appreciated across the country. Top trends by Pakistani social media users in favour of the Indian people have received positive responses from both countries.
Prominent Pakistani cleric Maulana Tariq Jamil has offered special prayers for the Indian people. Faisal Edhi, son of the late Abdul Sattar Edhi, has announced plans to provide ambulances and other medical aid across the border. In the holy month of Ramazan, special prayers are also being offered in mosques, temples and other religious places of worship across the country. Many Pakistani volunteers are also willing to support Indian people in this tough time.
While the corona situation is also getting worse with each passing day in our own beloved homeland Pakistan, our expression of solidarity with India reflects that we are a living nation with high moral values. Today, the Indian media, which was earlier spreading propaganda against Pakistan, is also acknowledging the positive role of Pakistan.
In my view, expressing solidarity with a country affected by natural disasters is a common practice at the diplomatic level. However, for the first time during the seven decades of post-independence history of Pakistan and India, peace loving elements of both sides are in a good position to play their due role in strengthening cordial relations on a long-term basis.
The Indian media, civil society and parliamentarians are urging the Modi government to accept Pakistan’s offer of assistance. In this regard, Gurjeet Singh Aujla, a prominent Sikh member of the Lok Sabha belonging to Amritsar, in an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the government to accept all the medical help offered by all countries including Pakistan. He has also proposed to develop an ‘Oxygen Corridor’ at the Attari-Wahga border.
Similarly, the international community is also appreciating our recent initiative and calling Pakistan a peaceful and responsible neighbour. The time has come for the Indian leadership to adopt a realistic approach for resolving all conflicts, including the Kashmir dispute. The present situation also demands that the top leadership of both countries follow a peaceful vision to promote coexistence, cooperation and cordial ties for the sake of humanity. In order to tackle the common challenge in the form of Covid-19, there is a dire need to bring the people of both countries closer.
The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.