Pak PM Imran Khan strikes a belligerent note
Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership on Wednesday pledged their support to the Kashmir issue, with Prime Minister Imran Khan promising to fight until the end if India resorts to any sort of action in the region.
The remarks by Khan and Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa came as the country observed its independence day as a day of solidarity with the Kashmiri people in the wake of India’s decision to end Jammu & Kashmir’s special status.
Khan said the Pakistan Army had information the Indian government had plans to “take action” in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but warned his country would mount a strong response and fight to the end. He made the remarks while addressing a special session of PoK’s legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad.
“The Pakistani military is fully aware, they [India] have made a plan to take action in Azad Kashmir. Just like after Pulwama, they had taken action in Balakot, the information that we have is they have made a more sinister programme to divert the world’s attention from they are doing in Kashmir,” Khan said, referring to India’s air strike on a terrorist camp Balakot after a suicide attack at Pulwama in February.
“I want to give a message to [Indian PM] Narendra Modi, you take action and we will give a strong response...The Pakistan Army is ready...and the whole country is ready,” he said.
Army chief Bajwa said his force is “fully ready to perform its part in line with our national duty for [the] Kashmir cause”.
Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor quoted Bajwa as saying: “Reality of Kashmir was neither changed by an illegal piece of paper in 1947 nor will any other do it now or in future. Pakistan has always stood by Kashmiris against India’s hegemonic ambitions...There can never be a compromise on Kashmir.”
Khan further targeted the ideology of the Indian government and said Pakistan will raise the Kashmir issue at all international forums, including the United Nations. Pakistan has sought an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the Kashmir issue. “I’ll become the voice for Kashmir. I will be Kashmir’s ambassador,” he said. Describing India’s decision to revoke J& K’s special status as a “strategic blunder”, he said the move will prove to very costly for New Delhi. Khan added the world community would be responsible if there is a war between the two countries. “Problems are not solved by wars, I don’t believe in wars,” he said.
PoK’s “prime minister” Raja Farooq Haider said India’s actions in Kashmir will lead to a new resistance movement. “India wants to change the demography of Kashmir by revoking Article 35A of the Constitution,” he said.
There was no official response from the Indian government to the comments by Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership. People familiar with developments said New Delhi had decided not to respond to provocative comments from Islamabad.