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Indians and Pakistanis are pleading for their leaders to #SayNoToWar

Thousands of social media users appealed for peace as the hashtag trended on Twitter in both countries.

Thousands of Indian and Pakistani social media users have been pleading with their leaders to find peace amid escalating tensions as #SayNoToWar began trending on Twitter in both countries on Wednesday.

Simmering tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals have boiled over in recent days as India carried out airstrikes in the Pakistani-controlled area of Kashmir, which borders the south Asian states, after a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian troops earlier in February.

Pakistan said it had shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot on Wednesday morning, leading to strong language and fears that relations could collapse into further violence.

But prominent social media users have been appealing for peace.

Indian actor Ranganathan Madhavan, who has more than 2.5 million followers, tweeted: “It’s a war against terror not between 2 nations yet. Dear Media —-you can actually stop this escalation .. please let’s be responsible and work towards peace.”

And the Indian politician Rukshmani Kumari agreed, tweeting: “The only war India and Pakisthan [sic] should fight is illiteracy, povery and violence #SayNoToWar.”

Thousands of other Twitter users lent their voices to the cause as well.

“I as a citizen of Pakistan request my govt to treat the ‘captive’ Indian pilot well and send him back ASAP as a gesture of peace,” tweeted activist and lecturer Tooba Syed.

“Come on Pakistan you can do this #SayNoToWar”

“Everyone should call for a #PakIndiaCeasefire. Please stop the war mongering. War never benefits the people. #SayNoToWar” wrote Pakistani writer and activist Usama Khiliji.

Indian journalist and entrepreneur Vikram Chandra tweeeted: “Are we seeing signs of de-escalation? A relatively conciliatory speech by the Pakistani PM, while #SayNoToWar is trending in both countries. Probably too early to say.”

And Pakistani singer Haroon Sharid wrote: “Those who celebrate war will not participate in the war, those who participate in the war, will never celebrate war. #SayNoToWar”

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended an offer to Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi for talks to de-escalate the situation.

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