Amid rising tension over occupied Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said there is “no point” talking to Indian officials, adding that his overtures for peace and dialogue with New Delhi so far have proven futile.
In an interview with The New York Times journalists Salman Masood and Maria Abi-Habib, published on Wednesday, Imran said: “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.”
During the interview at the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, which NYT said was Imran’s first with an international news organisation aimed at publicising anger over the situation in occupied Kashmir, the premier said: “There is nothing more that we can do.”
The prime minister’s remarks come after India stripped Kashmiris of their seven-decade-long special autonomy through a rushed presidential order on August 5. A communications blackout and heavy restrictions on movement imposed by the Indian authorities from the eve of the intervention entered their 18th day on Thursday. At least 4,000 people have been detained in Indian-occupied Kashmir since then.
The prime minister said that the “most important thing” was that the lives of eight million people were at risk.
“We are all worried that there is ethnic cleansing and genocide about to happen.”
The premier described Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “a fascist and Hindu supremacist who intends to eradicate Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population and populate the region with Hindus”.
Imran, in his messages on Twitter since India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir, has repeatedly said that the Indian government’s policy in the Himalayan region is in line with the “ideology” of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party — said to be a parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — that believes in “Hindu supremacy”.
While speaking to NYT, he expressed concern that India might undertake a deceptive “false-flag operation” in Kashmir to try to justify military action against Pakistan, adding that Pakistan would be forced to respond.
“And then 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.”
According to the article, the premier demanded that United Nations peacekeepers and observers be allowed in occupied Kashmir.