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Popularity of #SayNoToWar Hashtag in India and Pakistan Indicates Appetite For Peace

"Those cheering the loudest for war are sitting the farthest from the battlefield."

A sand sculpture advocating  peace between India and Pakistan. (Photo: Muddasar Abbas, @OfficialMudii)

As India and Pakistan inch closer to war, the people of the two countries are making clear on social media that they're not on board, with the hashtag #SayNoToWar trending in both countries.

Indians and Pakistanis are urging caution from their leaders as the situation inches closer to war, turning to Twitter to get the message out.

 

The prevalence of the hashtag in India, said Pakistani actor Farhan Saeed, "clearly shows that even Indian public is not ready to play in hands of [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi who is just trying to run his dirty election campaign at the cost of it's[sic] nation's blood."

"We are on the brink of a war that nobody in their right mind in either Pakistan or India want," said ESPN India presenter Raunak Kapoor.

Elsewhere, peace advocates asked for calm before it was too late. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, in a statement, pleaded with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to de-escalate tensions.

"India and Pakistan must end their border clash before it engulfs the world," said the group’s Indian co-president Dr. Arun Mitra. "Leaders from both sides must sit down to finally resolve their issues peacefully at the negotiating table and to take immediate steps to reduce and eliminate the threat that their nuclear weapons pose to all humanity."

Two Indian jets were shot down by Pakistan and one pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was taken into custody Wednesday.

The capture came amid weeks of tension between the countries and followed an Indian incursion into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir territory on Tuesday. 

But efforts for peace may be having an effect. Pakistani Prime Minister Khan issued a request for dialogue to the Indian people Wednesday and the #SayNoToWar hashtag’s popularity in both countries indicates there may not be much appetite for conflict from the Indian or Pakistani people.

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