ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday warned the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) against crossing the Line of Control (LoC) to support the struggle of the people of India-held Kashmir who have been facing an unprecedented lockdown for the past two months.
“I understand the anguish of the Kashmiris in the AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) seeing their fellow Kashmiris in IOJK (Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir) under an inhumane curfew for over 2 months,” the premier said in a tweet. “But anyone crossing the LoC from the AJK to provide humanitarian aid or support for Kashmiri struggle will play into the hands of the Indian narrative,” he added.
The Indian narrative, PM Khan explained, was aimed at diverting the world’s attention from the indigenous struggle of the Kashmiris against the brutal Indian occupation by trying to label it as “Islamic terrorism” being driven by Pakistan.
“It [crossing the LoC] will give India an excuse to increase violent oppression of Kashmiris in IOJK & attack across the LoC,” he cautioned.
The PM’s advice comes a day after thousands of emotionally charged Kashmiris from different parts of AJK set out in rallies to Muzaffarabad on the call of pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) to show solidarity with the besieged people of India-held Kashmir and over a week after Pakistan had slammed as “completely” baseless India’s allegations that hundreds of militants were waiting to “infiltrate” into Kashmir from the Pakistani side of the disputed Himalayan region.
FO rejects India’s comments on PM’s speech, Kashmir situation
Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had alleged that the “terror camps” that India’s air force had destroyed earlier this year in a cross-border attack in the Pakistani town of Balakot had been reactivated. The general also asserted that “at least 500 persons” from these camps were waiting to infiltrate into disputed region of Kashmir.
The remarks had been denounced by both Pakistan’s civil and military leadership. The foreign ministry spokesman said it was “a desperate attempt” by India to divert international attention from the humanitarian nightmare… being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces” in held Kashmir. In a separate statement, the Pakistani military warned that India’s unfounded allegations could be a ploy for a false flag-operation “which if tried shall have serious consequences for regional peace”. The Indian external affairs ministry spokesman in a statement slammed the Turkish and Malaysian leadership over what he said their ‘biased and incorrect’ statements on the Kashmir situation.
However, Pakistan rejected the comments made by the Indian external affairs ministry spokesman. “Exposing India’s egregious behaviour and state-terrorism in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is part of our international obligations and our moral responsibility to the Kashmiri victims of Indian repression. If India feels provoked, it is only because India is unwilling to face the truth about its indefensible actions that are driven by the toxic mix of an extremist ideology and hegemonic ambitions,” said the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesman.
“Equally reprehensible are India’s pretentions of casting itself as a ‘normal’ country. The international community would like to ask as to what normal country cages eight million people in an inhuman lockdown for over two months and deceives the world by claiming that “everything is fine”. Similarly, what normal country provides space and political patronage to the perpetrators of mob lynchings by cow vigilantes and repugnant schemes like gharwapsi and love jihad?” he remarked.
“India would be well-advised to keep its lectures on diplomacy and normality to itself. All we would like to stress is, “Physician, heal thyself!”, he said.
While addressing a huge public gathering in Muzaffarabad last month, PM Khan had asked the people of AJK who were anxious to cross the LoC to wait till his next call and until he fought the Kashmiris case at the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly. “Many of you want to cross the LoC, but wait till I ask you to move forward and until I tell the world the horrific story of oppression in the Indian Occupied Kashmir,” he added.
Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan since Aug 5 when New Delhi abolished the constitutional autonomy for occupied Kashmir. Authorities also have since placed India’s only Muslim-majority state under curfew restrictions amid a communications blackout. The Indian government deployed thousands of troops more to the already heavily militarised region to quell potential dissent. It also cut off internet access, put politicians under house arrest and shut down schools.
While pleading the case of the people of India-held Kashmir at the UN General Assembly over a week ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Modi’s Hindu nationalist government imposed a sweeping military curfew and cut off residents in the Muslim-majority region from virtually all communications. He said there were 900,000 Indian forces in the region policing eight million Kashmiris. “What’s he going to do when he will lift the curfew? Does he think the people of Kashmir are quietly going to accept the status quo?” Mr Khan questioned.
“What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath. They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them. … Kashmiris will be further radicalised,” he warned.
He said any war between the nuclear armed rivals could “have consequences for the world.” India’s prime minister took the opposite approach, skipping any mention at the United Nations of his government’s crackdown in the disputed region of Kashmir.
“When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world,” PM Khan said. “That’s not a threat,” he said of his war comments. “It’s a fair worry. Where are we headed?”
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2019