ISLAMABAD: President of Azad and Jammu Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Khan on Tuesday warned that India’s aggressive posturing against Pakistan has raised the threat of a military conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
“India is threatening Pakistan with war. It has whipped up war psychosis and has threatened to use nuclear weapon,” Mr Khan said at a seminar on ‘The Kashmir Conflict and South Asian Security’, which was jointly organised by Islamabad Policy Institute and Quaid-i-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies (DSS).
He was referring to the statements by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and said that Indian actions were imperilling security in the region.
The event was organised to discuss the current security environment and frame policy recommendations.
Mr Khan’s remarks came in the backdrop of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India, which entered a new phase after held Kashmir’s annexation by Delhi in August. Besides, hostile statements against Pakistan, India has intensified ceasefire violations targeting civilian population living close to LoC.
The AJK president explained that this hostility, which he called “madness”, was being “driven by fascist agenda of BJP and other violent extremist groups”. In this context, he pointed to the BJP government’s actions against Kashmir and Pakistan, revocation of citizenship of 1.9 million Muslims, and other measures by extremist groups against minority groups.
India’s actions in held Kashmir, he warned, were “existential threat for Pakistan”. He feared that Indian operations in Kashmir were just “the beginning of series of steps India planned to take against Pakistan”. He said India had sponsored proxy operations against Pakistan over the past two decades. That proxy war could be intensified and direct aggression can also be imposed on Pakistan for disintegrating it.
“We should be all prepared for war,” Mr Khan said.
He also touched upon the steps taken by the government to reach out to the international community to highlight the Kashmir issue and the sufferings of Kashmiris.
Responding to a question, he candidly admitted that Pakistan could have been better prepared to pre-empt India’s revocation of Article 370.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019