Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned citizens against joining the fight in Kashmir, saying the Indian authorities were waiting for “any excuse” to crack down on the residents in the Himalayan territory.
“If someone from Pakistan goes to India and he thinks he will fight in Kashmir … the first person he will be inflicting cruelty on is the Kashmiris. He will have acted as an enemy of the Kashmiris,” Khan said during a speech in Torkham on the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Tensions have soared between the two nuclear-armed nations over Kashmir, parts of which is administered by both India and Pakistan, since New Delhi revoked the autonomy of the territory it controls on August 5.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of using proxy armed groups in Kashmir, allegations denied by Islamabad.
“They have 900,000 troops there, they just need an excuse to claim that Kashmiris are with them and that terrorists are coming from Pakistan. We all know that everyone in Kashmir, from children to the elderly, are all against India … but they will get an excuse,” said Khan.
“Second, they will point the finger and tell the whole world that the real problem is of Pakistan and terrorism … It will provide them with an excuse for torture and barbarism.”
Since India stripped Kashmir of its special status last month and imposed a crippling lockdown in the region, leaders in both countries have engaged in an escalating war of words.
Khan refused to talk to India and promised to raise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly next week.
“Until they lift the curfew in Kashmir and take back the revocation of Article 370, there is no chance of speaking with them, even though we have tried a lot.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan fired back at New Delhi’s “jingoistic rhetoric” when India’s foreign minister promised to retake Islamabad’s portion Kashmir.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a news conference in New Delhi on Tuesday that the Pakistani-administered Kashmir is a “part of India and we expect one day that we will have the … physical jurisdiction over it”.
A statement by Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it “strongly condemns and rejects” the Indian minister’s remarks.
“Their policy towards Pakistan is full of hate, it is the policy of the RSS, which hates Muslims. They don’t consider Muslims equal human beings in India,” Khan said on Wednesday, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the far-right Hindu supremacist group that mentors the BJP.