Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday demanded that India lift the “inhuman” curfew on eight million Kashmiris and said the United Nations has a responsibility towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a 50-minute address that was well over the stipulated time limit, Khan said what is happening in Kashmir was a test for the UN, as it was for such situations that it was formed in 1945 as he looked to rally global support against India’s move to strip J&K of special status.
Saying that Kashmiris have been locked up for 55 days now, he warned that there would be “bloodbath” once the restrictions are finally lifted and the people come out to protest. “What will happen when curfew is lifted? Does he (PM Modi) think Kashmiris will quietly accept that the Constitution was changed?”
“There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says – for the prosperity of Kashmir… These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do? When they come out? There will be a bloodbath.”
While India has maintained that the change in status of Jammu and Kashmir was an entirely internal matter, Pakistan has repeatedly tried, but failed, to drum up international support on the issue. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian ambassador.
Khan said the Indian government’s move not only violated 11 UN Security Council resolutions, but also the Simla Accord and the Indian Constitution. In his address to the UNGA, Khan spoke at length about India’s decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the government’s move to put in place a communication lockdown.
“What is the world community going to do. Is it going to appease a market of 1.2 billion, or is it going to stand up for justice and humanity,” the Pakistani prime minister said.
“…This is the time to take action. And number one action must be that India must lift the inhuman curfew” in Kashmir, Khan said. “It must free all political prisoners,” he added.
He went on to say that the world community must give the people of Kashmir the right of self determination.
Asserting that the situation in Kashmir will deteriorate once India lifts the curfew, Khan said, “you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.”
He also once again raised the prospect of a conventional war with India if Pakistan is blamed for any attack in India as he urged the UN to intervene.
“If a conventional war starts, we will be faced with a choice – surrender or fight till death. We will fight. And when a nuclear armed country fights till end, it will have consequences for the world. It’s not a threat. This is a test for UN,” he said.
Khan said when he came to power last year, he decided to mend fences with neighbours and bring peace in the region.
“When we came to power we decided we would dismantle (terror groups)… I know India keeps alleging that these groups are there. I welcome UN observers, see for yourself,” Khan said, urging the world body to take note of his action against the terror groups in Pakistan.
“I have friends in India and I love going to India. So when my party came to power, we reached out to India and (said) let’s resolve differences through trade,” Khan said, adding that unfortunately the two sides didn’t make any head way.
He also spoke about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), saying Prime Minister Modi is a life member of the organisation.
(With PTI inputs)