In an interview with US publication The New York Times, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will not seek to engage in a dialogue with India anymore, intensifying his criticism of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has been particularly critical of the communications shutdown in the Kashmir Valley, which was put in place since before the move was announced.
“There is no point in talking to them. I mean, I have done all the talking. Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement,” Khan said in the interview.
‘Modi A Fascist, Hindu Supremacist Who Wants To Eradicate Kashmiri Muslims’
In the interview, Khan, once again, called the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government a “fascist and Hindu supremacist” who wanted to “eradicate” Kashmir’s Muslim population in order to ‘re-populate the state with Hindus’.
"“The most important thing is that eight million peoples’ lives are at risk. We are all worried that there is ethnic cleansing and genocide about to happen.”" - Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to The New York Times
Khan’s interview to the NYT is his first with any international publication on the issue of Kashmir. It comes a day after he spoke to US President Donald Trump over phone, warning him of a “potentially very explosive situation” that may arise between India and Pakistan.
The Pakistan PM had also flown to Washington DC to meet President Trump last month, after which the president offered to mediate on the issue.
The offer was rejected strongly by India, which maintained that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
‘Two Nuclear Countries Eyeball-To-Eyeball. Anything Can Happen’
Khan has also raised the threat of possible military escalation against India, warning of a “false-flag operation” that may be carried out by India. He said, in such a scenario, Pakistan will be forced to respond.
"“You are looking at two nuclear-armed countries eyeball to eyeball, and anything can happen. My worry is that this can escalate and for two nuclear-armed countries, it should be alarming for the world what we are facing now.”" - Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to PTI
Pakistan’s threat of larger nuclear confrontation between the two countries has been in place since India went into Pakistani airspace in March to conduct airstrikes on a militant terrorist camp in response to the Pulwama terror attack in February.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted on 16 August that circumstances in the future will dictate India’s policy on “no first use” when it comes to its nuclear arsenal – a policy that the nation has firmly followed since 1998.
Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 16, 2019
Reacting to Khan’s comments, India’s ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla told NYT that India expects Pakistan to “take credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism.”
“Our experience has been that every time we have taken an initiative toward peace, it has turned out badly for us,” he said.
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