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World would’ve reacted differently had Kashmiris not been Muslims: PM Khan

NEW YORK: Expressing concerns over grave human rights violations and atrocities in occupied Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that the international community should not keep mum over inhuman treatment with the eight million Kashmiris in the held valley.

Addressing a press conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Maleeha Lodhi in New York, PM Imran said that the only purpose of his coming to New York was to highlight Indian oppression in Occupied Kashmir and plight of Kashmiris before the world, Radio Pakistan reported.

He said the emerging situation is just the beginning which is going to get worse and there is a potential that two nuclear armed countries can confront each other. He said for last fifty days people of Kashmir have been locked down by 900,000 Indian soldiers and there is total news blackout. He said he met Kashmiris in New York who complained they were not able to contact their families in Occupied Kashmir. Besides, there have been reports of mass arrests and even pro India Kashmiri leaders have been detained by the Indian authorities. He said Kashmiri youth have been picked up by police and hospitals are not functioning to provide healthcare.

Imran Khan said putting eight million people in an open jail is unprecedented. He said there are eleven Security Council resolutions that recognize Kashmir as disputed region and it is not internal matter of India. The UNSC resolutions give the people of Kashmir right to plebiscite to determine their future. He said the incumbent BJP government in India has annexed Kashmir by revoking article 370 that granted independent status to Occupied Kashmir.

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The Prime Minister emphasized that Indian authorities are now trying to change the demography of the held territory, which is against the fourth Geneva Convention and is tantamount to a war crime. We fear that under the curfew there is a serious risk of genocide of Kashmiri Muslims.

Imran Khan said his second fear is that whatever happens in Kashmir will be again blamed on Pakistan by India. Last year, Pakistan was blamed by India of a terrorist attack in Kashmir without giving any proof. Fact of the matter is that a Kashmiri youth who carried out the attack was radicalized by the brutal treatment of Indian forces. India launched an assault on Pakistan in February this year which was befittingly repulsed by Pakistan and two Indian jets were down with one pilot captured. Pakistan as a gesture of goodwill returned the Indian pilot but India did not reciprocate to our peaceful gestures.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the current BJP government is follower of violent ideology of RSS which is a racist organization. This organization has role models like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The same organization was responsible for killing of even Mahatma Gandhi. He said current Indian Prime Minister has his hands stained with bloods of Indian Muslims.

Imran Khan said the moment his party came to power, we did everything to mend our relations with India. He recalled that he had contacted Indian Prime Minister Modi on phone and said to him that people of Pakistan and India were facing similar problems including poverty, climate change and others and both countries should move forward in bilateral relations. But India was in election mode at that time and we thought perhaps after that the Indian government will take it seriously. But later it appeared they had a different agenda which emerged in the form of unilateral action of 5th of August.

Imran Khan said in India, minorities including Muslims and Christians were not safe and were treated as inferior citizens. He said during his interaction with leadership of US, France, UK and other countries, he apprised them of the gravity of the situation after the illegal action of India. He said after Cuban missile crisis, this is the second dangerous situation where two nuclear powers could be at the brink of war due to this serious issue. He said what justification could possibly be for keeping eight million people under siege.

The Prime Minister urged the leadership of big countries that their obsession with big India market should not be at the peril of the loss of lives of innocent Kashmiris.

Replying to a question regarding possible mediation efforts by Pakistan in the gulf crisis, he said President Trump asked me if we could be helpful in deescalating the evolving situation in the region. Earlier, during meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his stopover in Saudi Arabia, similar message was conveyed. He said he does not believe that military conflicts resolve anything. He said when Afghan war started, it was said that whole thing would be over in a few weeks. But after nineteen years, it is still lingering. Pakistan is affected by all the turmoil in Afghanistan. We want peace near our borders and also for the people of Afghanistan. He said if war erupts in Gulf, it could affect the region and beyond.

On a question regarding possible meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York to resolve the situation in Kashmir, Imran Khan said Pakistan tried everything to resolve issues with India before 5th of August action. But he regretted that there was no response from the Indian side. What is the point of talking now when the Indian leadership is not serious? He unequivocally said unless India lifts the curfew in Occupied Kashmir and restores article 370, there can be no chance of talks with India.

On another question, he said UN Security Council has to take action as people of Kashmir are suffering because its relevant resolutions were not implemented. It should act to save eight million people from oppression and inhuman treatment at the hands of Indian security forces. The Security Council should also intervene as there is a risk of faceoff between two nuclear armed countries. He said no sane mind can think of a nuclear war. Imran Khan warned that if conflict starts between two nuclear armed nations, it could get out of control and reach to unintended consequences.

The Prime Minister agreed with a questioner that Taliban were willing to meet with the US but not the representatives of Afghan government. He said our government is urging Taliban to hold talks with the Afghan government. The Prime Minister regretted that talks were later called off by the US on a simple tweet. He emphasized that there was no military solution to Afghan crisis and only dialogue can lead to peace.

The Prime Minister expressed disappointment on the role of international community for not providing relief to eight million people under siege. He said we will keep mounting the pressure through various means. Imran Khan said in my address at the UN General Assembly, I will inform the world community that nine hundred thousand Indian troops are there to intimidate, control and repress the Muslim population. It could have far reaching consequences as one point three billion Muslims are watching the situation with concern. It could lead to more radicalization of Muslim youth and violence.

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