Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan turned an address to celebrate his country’s Independence Day to launch sharp attacks on India for stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under the Indian constitution and enacting a law to convert the state into two union territories to be governed by the central government.
Khan also accused India of planning military action in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “The Pakistani army has solid information that they are planning to do something in Pakistani Kashmir, and they are ready and will give a solid response,” Khan said during a televised speech in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, according to news agency AFP.
The Pakistan Prime Minister, who also referenced his offer to take two steps for every step forward taken by India to strengthen relations between the two neighbours, claimed that India wanted to carry out an operation in PoK “to divert the world’s attention over what they are doing under curfew in Kashmir”.
Khan had responded angrily to India changing the Jammu and Kashmir’s status and ending provisions that barred Indians from other , alleging that there were efforts to “change the demography” of Kashmir.
His many warnings delivered in his address to the PoK assembly signal an attempt to ramp up the rhetoric. Pakistan has stopped cross-border initiatives to enhance people-to-people contact such as train and bus services, downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended the little bilateral trade that was there. His warnings of war are, however, a departure from Islamabad ruling out a “military option” over Kashmir.
Imran Khan, who has seen a decline in support from Islamic countries over Kashmir, kept his appeals for intervention directed at the United Nations instead.
“Unfortunately, we can’t look to the leadership of the Muslim world, but there are 1.5 billion Muslims globally looking at the UN to see whether you will stand for Kashmir’s right to self determination,” Khan said, according to his party Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Twitter handle.
“If this region goes to war, the world will be responsible. Those institutions responsible for keeping world peace, this is a trial of the UN,” Khan said, describing himself as the ambassador for Kashmir at all international fora.
India has already dismissed Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue by describing the changes in Jammu and Kashmir as an internal matter. It was a message that was conveyed to Beijing as well by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar during his meetings with his counterpart this week.
The end of special status for Jammu and Kashmir lifts the bar on parliament to enact laws for Jammu and Kashmir and allows non-residents to buy property as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have blamed the special status for much of the state’s problems, right from hindering development to terrorism.
Aug 14, 2019 17:37 IST