Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday warned India against any “misadventure” in Pakistan, saying “miscalculation” on the part of New Delhi would elicit a “tit-for-tat” response from Islamabad, amid heightening tensions between the two neighbours following India’s move to revoke Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a special session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad as Pakistan marked its Independence Day “in solidarity with Kashmiris”, Khan said: “We have information and we have had two National Security Committee meetings. The Pakistan Army has full knowledge that India has made a plan to take action in AJK.”
“Like the action they took in Balakot after Pulwama, according to our information, they have made more sinister plans now. To shift the world’s focus away from occupied Kashmir, they want to take action in AJK.”
The cricketer-turned-politician in a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “… you take action and every brick will be countered with a stone. The Pakistan Army is battle-hardened and it is fully ready to respond to any violation by India. The entire nation is ready and stands alongside its armed forces.
“A Muslim never initiates war. We are ready to respond to any (misadventure) by India. Kashmiris are also battle-hardened and they have no fear. We will respond to whatever you do — we will go till the end,” he said in the address.
Calling India’s move on Kashmir a “strategic blunder”, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief said, “It will cost Modi and his BJP government heavily. I consider it a big miscalculation by Modi. He has played his final card.”
He said it was a challenging task to draw the attention of world leaders to the “human rights violations in occupied Kashmir”, Geo News reported.
“But now, the Kashmir issue is under the spotlight of (world media). By (clamping down further) on occupied Kashmir, Modi has in fact helped internationalise the dispute,” Khan said.
“If a war breaks out, I’m saying this to the UN, you’ll be responsible… This is now UN’s trial. The entire Muslim world is looking at the UN (to play its role).
“The UN must listen to 1.5 billion Muslims who are looking up to the global body for taking action against India which has turned IOK into a prison for 10 million Kashmiris.”
“It is now up to Pakistan to highlight the issue. I’ll become the voice for Kashmir. I will now be the ambassador for the Kashmir issue around the world. I will take it up at every forum,” Khan said.
In his Independence Day message, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said “there can never be a compromise on #Kashmir”.
President Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and several Pakistani politicians also expressed “solidarity with the Kashmiris”, saying Pakistan stands “shoulder to shoulder” with them.
India’s Independence Day on Thursday will be observed as “Black Day” across Pakistan.