If the world does nothing to stop the Indian assault on Kashmir and its people, there will be consequences for the whole world as two nuclear-armed states get ever closer to a direct military confrontation, Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote in an opinion piece published in the New York Times on Friday.
He called for the international community to think beyond trade and business advantages. “World War II happened because of appeasement at Munich. A similar threat looms over the world again, but this time under the nuclear shadow,” said the premier.
In a detailed piece, PM Khan narrated the circumstances around the tension between Pakistan and India and how relations between the two countries have taken a negative turn in the last one year.
His article, ‘The World Can’t Ignore Kashmir. We Are All in Danger’, was published shortly after PM’s address in Islamabad over the government’s call to observe Kashmir Hour across the country to show solidarity with Kashmiris, whose autonomy was stripped by India earlier this month.
The premier started his piece by highlighting Pakistan’s efforts to normalise relations with India through trade, dialogue and by settling the Kashmir dispute and India’s negative reaction to it.
He drew a comparison between the two countries, saying that both confront similar challenges of poverty, unemployment and climate change.
“Unfortunately, all my efforts to start a dialogue for peace were rebuffed by India. Initially, we assumed that Mr. Modi’s increasingly hard-line positions and his rhetoric against Pakistan were aimed to whip up a nationalist frenzy among the Indian voters with an eye on the Indian elections in May,” he wrote.
Pakistan has so far written three to Modi calling for dialogue and peace.
“I made a conscious decision to show that Pakistan had no intent of aggravating the conflict between two nuclear-armed states,” he wrote, adding that India chose not to respond. Later, Pakistan found out that while it was making peace overtures, India had been lobbying to get Pakistan placed on the “blacklist” at the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which could lead to severe economic sanctions and push the country toward bankruptcy.
“Evidently Mr. Modi had mistaken our desire for peace in a nuclear neighborhood as appeasement. We were not simply up against a hostile government. We were up against a “New India,” which is governed by leaders and a party that are the products of the Hindu supremacist mother ship, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the RSS,” he said.
PM Khan explained Modi’s affiliation with the RSS and highlighted that the Indian leader’s first term as prime minister had been “marked by lynching of Muslims, Christians and Dalits by extremist Hindu mobs.”
He wrote about the Indian violence against Kashmiris. “Pellet-firing shotguns were introduced and aimed at the eyes of young Kashmiri protesters, blinding hundreds,” he said.
“On Aug 5, in its most brazen and egregious move, Mr. Modi’s government altered the status of Indian-occupied Kashmir through the revocation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution. The move is illegal under the Constitution of India, but more important, it is a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan,” he said.
Thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested and thrown into prisons across India, PM Khan said, adding that a blood bath is feared in Kashmir when the curfew is lifted.
“India’s defense minister has issued a not-so-veiled nuclear threat to Pakistan by saying that the future of India’s “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons will “depend on circumstances.” Similar statements have been made by Indian leaders periodically. Pakistan has long viewed India’s “no first use” claims with scepticism,” the premier wrote towards the end of his piece.
He ended by emphasising on dialogue and negotiations which includes all stakeholders, especially the Kashmiris. “We have already prepared multiple options that can be worked on while honoring the right to self-determination the Kashmiris were promised by the Security Council resolutions and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru,”.
But he made it clear that dialogue can start “only when India reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks”.