Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has reacted sharply to Monday’s developments in Jammu and Kashmir insisting that with an approach like this, “incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again“, the Dawn reported.
“I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back,” Khan told his country’s Parliament on Tuesday.
“What will happen then? They will attack us and we will respond and the war can go both ways… But if we fight a war till we shed the last drop of our blood, who will win that war? No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail,” he added.
Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday to discuss the country’s future course of action in the wake of India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution, stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, Khan said that his government’s priority was to improve relations with all of Pakistan’s neighbours because it was vital to improve the country’s economic situation.
“When we took up government, our main priority was to address poverty in our country. We reached out to all our neighbours, because without having a semblance of normalcy in ties, we cannot attain stability and alleviate poverty.
“All my trips to neighbouring countries were meant for this purpose. I visited Afghanistan and asked them that we work to address our past differences. I talked to India, telling them if you take one step towards us, we will come two-step towards you. I went to Iran (with similar aims) and I visited America.
“When I first reached out to India, they expressed concerns that there were militant outfits operating from Pakistan. I told (Narendra) Modi that after the grave and painful tragedy of the Army Public School massacre, all our political parties had resolved to never let the territory of Pakistan be used for terrorist activities. But I got the feeling that the Indian side was not serious about talks. When we went to Bishkek, my suspicions regarding their unwillingness to speak was strengthened.”
According to the newspaper, the Pakistan Premier said: “I soon realised that India was not interested in talking to us. They took our overtures for peace as weakness, so we stopped extending offers to hold talks.
“Then Pulwama happened. Thank God our Air Force responded in the way it did. We shot down their pilot, but returned him immediately to send the message that we did not want war. We resolved that we would not move forward on talks over Kashmir till after the (Indian) elections. The elections happened.
“What happened yesterday has only confirmed my suspicion (about India’s unwillingness to talk). This is not a decision they (the BJP) have taken out of the blue. It was part of their election manifesto all along. It is, in fact, ingrained in their ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups.”
“What they did in Kashmir is in accordance with their ideology. They have a racist ideology,” he declared.
“They have violated their own country’s and international laws to (uphold) their ideology.
“They will now crack down even harder on the Kashmiri people. They will try to suppress the Kashmiri resistance with brute force. I fear that they may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to wipe out the local population.
“With an approach of this nature, incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back.
“What will happen then? They will attack us and we will respond and the war can go both ways… But if we fight a war till we shed the last drop of our blood, who will win that war? No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail.
“We want the global leadership to take note. My party and I are taking the responsibility to approach the leaders of the world and apprise them of what is happening in Kashmir. I know the Western world, and I feel like they are not sufficiently aware of what is happening in Kashmir. I will inform them that what the Indian government is doing in Kashmir and what it is doing to Muslims and minorities in India goes against everything the Western world believes in,” he said.
The joint session of upper and lower houses was summoned by President Arif Alvi to decide Pakistan’s future course of action in the wake of India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370, the paper reported.
But the session was disrupted soon after due to protest from opposition lawmakers who pointed out that the resolution, moved by Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati condemning India’s “illegal actions” in “occupied Kashmir”, did not specifically mention Article 370 of the Indian constitution.