Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday termed the revocation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir's special status on Aug 5, 2019 a "strategic blunder" by Indian premier Narendra Modi, saying that the only conclusion of the Kashmir issue would be the valley's freedom.
The premier was addressing a special session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of India's move to annex the disputed valley.
He said that after listening to speeches by the Assembly members, he got the impression that they were "feeling a bit hopeless". "I believe God is putting Kashmiris through a phase that will end in its freedom," he added.
The prime minister further said that Modi had revoked Article 370 on the basis of four assumptions. "Modi won the elections by playing the 'hate card' and after winning the elections, he decided to expand that base by revoking Kashmir's status.
"His win with a heavy majority gave him the confidence to do this and he received massive support from his Hindutva base for the Kashmir step. Second, he made the assumption that Pakistan would not do anything about it because it sought friendship with India. He thought Pakistan would keep quiet because we needed India. There was arrogance behind all of this," he said.
"Modi knew that India is a big market in the world right now and the international community would want to keep good relations with it. India thought that the world community would keep silent because it needed it to counterbalance China.
"The biggest false assumption that Modi made was that he thought that by posting 800,000 soldiers in the valley, he could strike fear in the hearts of the Kashmiris and then India would be able to change occupied Kashmir's demography. India thought that when it showed its full might, the Kashmiris would surrender," the premier said.
"I think Modi made a strategic blunder."
PM Khan said that nations in the past had also been "destroyed because of arrogance". Giving Hitler's example, he said that the German leader was "warned by his generals that winter was coming in Russia and was asked to withdraw but in the end his arrogance destroyed his army," adding that Napoleon made the same mistake.
International support for occupied Kashmir
Pointing out that Modi's assumptions were miscalculated, he said that Pakistan had not remained silent. "The United Nations discussed the Kashmir issue thrice during the last year for the first time since 1965. It also published two reports on human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir."
Detailing his efforts, the premier said that he had "personally talked to all leaders" himself. "I explained to [United States President] Trump twice how Kashmir was a flashpoint. I talked to [German Chancellor] Merkel, [United Kingdom premier] Boris, [French president] Macron, explained to them, made them understand."
He disclosed that he also explained to the New York Times board that the founders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party "claimed in a book that they were inspired by Hitler's ideology and believed that what was happening to the Jews was correct and the same should happen in India" after they did not publish his articles on the Kashmir issue.
The premier said that after what Modi did in Gujrat, he would not have been allowed to become a leader in any country. "Vajpayee (former Indian PM) became moderate after becoming leader but Modi's hatred came to the fore. Today, Modi is exposed in front of the world, the biggest result of which is that people are [now] looking towards [the situation in] Kashmir.
"They thought they would torture and crush Kashmiris but the world is watching. There have been discussions in European Union parliament, in the British parliament and the Kashmiri diaspora came out to protest. Never have so many people come out [to protest] as they did outside the United Nations General Assembly."
The premier said that international leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Trump had spoken about what was happening in the occupied valley. He also praised the Pakistani government for raising awareness about the issue.
He paid tribute to Kashmiris for "how their morale is high even after such torture and provocation". He said that there was"so much hatred in people for India that no pro-India politician would be able to succeed in occupied Kashmir".
The premier said he believed that India's conditions would deteriorate. "India is stuck in a blind alley. If it retreats, Kashmir will be free. The question is how long can they maintain this [when] the world is watching."
He assured Kashmiris that "we will raise and continue to raise [the Kashmir issue] on every forum."
Explaining his reasoning behind the new political map of the country, he said that he wanted to show to the world that Kashmir was a disputed area. "We have said on every forum that the Kashmir issue should be resolved according to resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and we have written this on the map as well."
He also announced a civil award for Syed Ali Geelani who resigned from his post as chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in June. "We will honour Syed Ali Geelani with Nishan-e-Pakistan on Aug 14. Such a person is recognised internationally for sticking to their stance," he said.
"There will only be one conclusion of this, which is that Kashmir will be freed," the premier concluded.
Before his address, the premier led a "solidarity walk" from the helipad to the nearby Legislative Assembly premises, with AJK President Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and other dignitaries and civil servants among its participants.
On the assembly premises, PM Imran also laid the foundation stone of a monument to the martyrs of the Kashmir freedom movement. The monument, known as the "Resistance Wall" has been built in memory of the Kashmiris oppressed by India, according to Radio Pakistan.
The prime minister will also hold meetings with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) representatives and heads of different parliamentary parties in the AJK legislature.
'International community not supporting Kashmir due to various interests in India'
Earlier, the Assembly passed a resolution which was read out by AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider. The resolution, among other things, condemned India's actions in occupied Kashmir and thanked the Pakistani nation for standing with the Kashmiris.
In his speech, Haider warned that Modi was a "danger to everyone". He said that India did not get along well with almost all of its neighbours. He claimed that India had wanted to make Bangladesh a "satellite state", adding that it did not have good relations with Nepal, Bhutan and other countries as well.
He said there was a "need to look at the situation [in Kashmir] with cold reason and logic and deal with it accordingly". Haider added that he did not want the issue to be dragged for long.
"We are not against Hinduism but against Modi's ideology," he clarified.
Haider advocated urgent actions to resolve the issue and warned that "Kashmir will not be the same in three years" because the Indian government was changing the demography. "India wants to do ethnic cleansing."
He claimed that the international community was not supporting Kashmir because it had various interests in India. "European Union and other countries have various interests in India which is why it is more important to them".
Haider asked Prime Minister Khan to form a team that would plan for where the country should be headed in 2050 and pointed out that "a strong, powerful Pakistan can be a defender of Kashmir". He said that Pakistan should also launch a "fresh diplomatic offensive" in support of Kashmir.
He suggested that the government enlist the help of Kashmiri leaders and diaspora to raise awareness internationally. "Our high commission in London can play a very important role because of the Kashmiri diaspora there. [The government can also] use the diaspora in Europe and America. The Foreign Office should sit with our leadership."
Addressing the people in occupied Kashmir, he said: "I want to inform the non-Muslims in occupied Kashmir that prosperity is with Pakistan. I want to tell the people of Jammu to make committees in every village and kick out any non-Kashmiri. Muslim Kashmiris are fighting for Jammu and Ladakh. This is not a religious struggle."
He refuted Indian claims that there were "terror launch pads" in AJK. "Is there ever a launch pad in a bazaar?" he questioned, adding that "no indiscriminate firing could be done from a bazaar".