Imran Khan predicts ‘bloodbath’ in Jammu and Kashmir
Khan made the remarks while addressing the UN General Assembly about an hour after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who studiously avoided any mention of the Kashmir issue or Pakistan in his speech.Updated: Sep 28, 2019 01:24 IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday contended there would be a “bloodbath” when India eases restrictions in Jammu & Kashmir, and warned the tensions between the two countries could escalate into a nuclear war.
Khan made the remarks while addressing the UN General Assembly about an hour after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who studiously avoided any mention of the Kashmir issue or Pakistan in his speech. Khan said he would speak on four urgent problems, but more than half his address of nearly 50 minutes, far more than the 15-minute limit for speeches at the General Assembly, dwelt on Kashmir and tensions with India.
“If this goes wrong, you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst,” Khan said.
“If a conventional war starts between the two countries... anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice – either you surrender or you fight for your freedom till death?” he said.
“What will we do? I ask myself this question... and we will fight... and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders.”
Khan said his war comments weren’t a threat but “a fair worry”. He said once India lifted the restrictions in Kashmir, which he described as a “curfew”, there would be a “bloodbath”.
“What’s he [Modi] going to do when he lifts the curfew? Does he think the people of Kashmir are quietly going to accept the status quo? What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath,” he said.
He added, “They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them… Kashmiris will be further radicalised.”
Khan’s remarks were in line with the stance adopted by Pakistan’s leadership since India revoked Jammu & Kashmir’s special status on August 5 – that the situation in Kashmir could trigger a war between the two countries.
He also repeatedly mentioned another issue that has been raised by the Pakistani leadership in recent weeks – any terror attack or flare-up of violence in Kashmir would be blamed by India on Pakistan and could lead to a situation like the stand-off that occurred after the February 14 suicide attack in Pulwama claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
“There will be another Pulwama and guess what, they will blame us,” Khan said. “They might come and bomb us again and another cycle might start.”
To ensure that the two nuclear-armed nations do not come face to face as they did in February, he said, the UN has a responsibility to step in to make India lift “this inhuman curfew” in Kashmir, free all prisoners and then work to give Kashmiris the right of self-determination.
Khan said India had resorted to the “mantra of Islamic terrorism” to get the world community on its side on the Kashmir issue, and Western powers were reluctant to intervene as they had their eyes on the Indian market of more than a billion people.
He also contended that the situation in Kashmir could radicalise Muslims in India and other parts of the world – not because of religion but from a feeling that there was no justice – and this could lead to more problems. “You’re forcing people into radicalisation,” he said.
Khan also spoke at length on his efforts to reach out to India after his election last year but added that his overtures had been rebuffed.
The three other issues that Khan raised in his speech were climate change, corruption, especially among the elite, and Islamophobia. He said that Islamophobia had grown at an alarming pace since the since 9/11 terror attacks and was creating divisions.
First Published: Sep 28, 2019 01:24 IST