Pakistan stands with Kashmiris regardless of world’s stance, says PM


–Imran says if some Muslim countries are not raising Kashmir issue because of economic interests ‘they will eventually take this issue up’

–Says a ceremony will be held every week to show solidarity with Kashmiri people


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that Pakistan will continue to stand with Kashmiris in their time of need regardless of the stances taken by other countries, including the Muslim world, adding that the country “will go to any lengths” to support the cause of the oppressed Kashmiri people.

“I want to tell the Kashmiri people that whether the world stands with them or not, Pakistan will,” Imran said in a televised address to the nation during which he laid out the government’s future strategy on the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir.

The premier started his address by saying that he wanted to share with the public the government’s policy and stance in view of the existing situation in occupied Kashmir. He said the time had come for Pakistan’s Kashmir policy to take a “decisive” turn.

“When my government came into power, my first priority was to generate peace in the country. India and we share many problems; unemployment, inflation and climate change, etc.

“So we wanted to be friends with everyone […] From the start of our term, we made many overtures for dialogue [to India] but there were always some problems. They (India) would look for opportunities to accuse Pakistan of terrorism,” the prime minister said.

“First they had elections coming up, so we waited for that to be over, we thought when elections would be over, the situation will be different. Then Pulwama happened; a Kashmiri man blew himself up.

“India, instead of introspecting, pointed fingers at us. After the elections, we saw that they tried their best to bankrupt Pakistan and tried to have Pakistan ‘blacklisted’ at FATF (Financial Action Task Force).

“That is when we decided we should not hold any talks with them because we realised they had a different agenda,” he added.

The prime minister recalled that on August 5 New Delhi sent additional military troops to Kashmir and announced that it was now part of India. “This was against the vision of their founding fathers and UN resolutions,” he added.

“The message [India] gave on August 5 was that Hindustan belongs to Hindus only and all others are second-class citizens.”

He said it was important for the public to understand the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party — said to be a parent organisation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — of which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a member.

“They (RSS) believe that Hindus are supreme and others are second-class citizens. They have a fascist ideology, they have been sidelined by India’s past government as a terrorist organisation.

“They were the ones who assassinated [Mahatma] Gandhi for trying to promote Hindu-Muslim unity. After [former prime minister Jawaharlal] Nehru’s death, the RSS ideology started gaining ground.

“This was the ideology that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah saw and worked towards the creation of Pakistan. Our ideology is based on the Holy Quran and believes in the protection of minorities; RSS has the opposite mindset.”

Imran said that Modi had made a “historic blunder” by revoking occupied Kashmir’s special autonomy and in doing so “he has opened the way to Kashmir’s freedom”.

“We received information that they were planning a false-flag operation like what they did in Balakot, to divert attention from occupied Kashmir.

“We won on the diplomatic front; we internationalised the Kashmir issue, talked to heads of states, their embassies [and] the UN Security Council called a session on Kashmir for the first time since 1965. We also kept raising this for the international media to report and they picked this up.”

Outlining the government’s future strategy to deal with the situation in occupied Kashmir, the premier said: “First, I believe, the entire nation should stand with the Kashmiri nation. I have said this that I will act as Kashmir’s ambassador.

“I will tell the world about this, I have shared this with heads of states that I have been in contact with. I will raise this issue at the UN as well.

“I read in the newspapers that people are disappointed that Muslim countries are not siding with Kashmir. I want to tell you not to be disappointed; if some countries are not raising this issue because of their economic interests, they will eventually take this issue up. They will have to, with time.

The prime minister announced that a ceremony will be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people and coming Friday, the nation will come out between 12-12:30pm to show solidarity.

“They (India) have played their trump card, they don’t have any card to play now. Now whatever needs to be done will be done by us and the world.

“This is the UN’s responsibility, they promised the people of Kashmir that they would protect them. Historically, the world bodies have always sided with the powerful but the UN should know that 1.25 billion Muslims are looking towards it.

“Will these big countries keep looking at their economic interests only? Because they should remember, both countries have nuclear weapons.

“In a nuclear war, no one will win. It will not only wreak havoc in this region, but the entire world will face consequences. It is now up to the international community,” the premier concluded.