Pakistan India, Covid-19

Pakistanis prayed for India during COVID-19 crisis: study

Most Pakistanis expressed supportive sentiments towards their Indian neighbours when the latter was reeling under a severe second COVID-19 wave, said an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven study.

The research focused on tweets expressing kindness, empathy and solidarity. It found out that most tweets that were posted by Pakistani citizens between 21 April and 4 May were positive.

Led by Ashique KhudaBukhsh, the team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) based their study on 300,000 tweets. The team accepted only the tweets with the three biggest trending hashtags: #IndiaNeedsOxygen, #PakistanStandsWithIndia and #EndiaSaySorryToKashmir. Of them, 55,712 tweets came from Pakistan, 46,651 from India and the remaining were posted from the rest of the world.

With the help of an artificial intelligence tool, “hope speech classifier”, they found Pakistani tweets containing supportive hashtags were by far more than those containing non-supportive hashtags. The study found that these tweets received more likes and retweets as well.

More than 85% of the tweets posted about the COVID crisis in India from Pakistan were supportive, the research found.

“Our research showed that there’s a universality in how people express emotions. If you search randomly, you’ll find positive tweets a little over 44% of the time. Our method throws up positive tweets 83% of the time,” KhudaBukhsh said.

At a time when Indians were panicked about the raging COVID-19 wave, they received support and solidarity from across the border. Some people justified Pakistan’s helpful outpouring as the country itself was also faced with an infectious outbreak.

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