UNITED NATIONS: (Reuters) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned on Friday there would be a bloodbath when India lifts its curfew in Kashmir and that any all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations would reverberate far beyond their borders.
Khan made the remarks in an impassioned speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly after India last month removed the decades-old autonomy in the part of Kashmir administered by Pakistan.
“If this goes wrong, you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst,” Khan said.
“If a conventional war starts between the two countries ... anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice either you surrender or you fight for your freedom till death? “What will we do? I ask myself this question ... and we will fight. ... and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders.” In its clampdown in Indian-administered Kashmir, India flooded the territory - already one of the world’s most militarised zones - with troops.
There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says — for the prosperity of Kashmir... These troops, what are they going to do?
“There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says - for the prosperity of Kashmir... These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do? When they come out? There will be a bloodbath,” Khan told the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
India imposed restrictions on movements and cut all telephone, mobile phone and internet connections. Thousands of people were arrested.
New Delhi has since eased some of the curbs, although no prominent detainees have been freed and mobile and internet connections remain suspended.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full. Two of the three wars they have fought have been over Kashmir.
Khan addressed the United Nations a day after the senior US diplomat for South Asia called for a lowering of rhetoric between India and Pakistan while saying that Washington hoped to see rapid action by India to lift restrictions it has imposed in Kashmir and the release of detainees there.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the UN assembly shortly before Khan made no mention of Kashmir, or Pakistan, in his speech, concentrating mainly on Indian’s efforts to protect the environment.