Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday questioned whether the global community would have the “moral courage” to stop a possible genocide from taking place in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Taking to Twitter a day after Pakistan expelled the Indian ambassador in protest over New Delhi’s move to revoke occupied Kashmir’s special status, the premier said the entire world was waiting to see what treatment the Indian authorities will mete out to Kashmirs once the crippling curfew imposed on them earlier this week is lifted.
“Does the BJP govt think by using greater military force against Kashmiris in IOK, it will stop the freedom movement?” the prime minister asked, before the answering the question himself: “Chances are it will gain momentum.”
He said it should be “obvious” that the international community will be witnessing the “genocide” of Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir.
The whole world is waiting to see what happens to oppressed Kashmiris in IOK when curfew is lifted. Does the BJP govt think by using greater military force against Kashmiris in IOK, it will stop the freedom movement? Chances are it will gain momentum.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 8, 2019
Closing his tweet with a question, Prime Minister Imran wrote: “Will we watch another appeasement of fascism, this time in the garb of [the] BJP govt, or will the international community have the moral courage to stop this from happening?”
The prime minister’s tweets came after he told a group of anchorpersons during a briefing on Kashmir that it was US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute that “triggered” India to revoke Article 370, which had granted special status to occupied Kashmir, according to journalist Amber Rahim Shamsi, who attended the meeting.
Sharing the premier’s thoughts from the briefing in a series of tweets, Shamsi quoted him as saying that he feared a genocide in occupied Kashmir could push Kashmiri refugees into Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
According to Shamsi, Prime Minister Imran said Pakistan cannot afford war due to a weak economic situation but is looking to “actively galvanise Western governments and public opinion on the violations in Kashmir”. An “airtight legal case” is also being prepared before the UN General Assembly session, he said.
The premier also ruled out the use of non-state actors to support Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination, saying “there are more disadvantages than advantages” in doing so, Shamsi tweeted.
There is “a 50/50 chance of either limited conventional war or a golden opportunity to solve the issue of Kashmir once and for all”, the anchorperson quoted the prime minister as saying.
Other senior leaders of the ruling PTI also expressed fears of Indian government committing genocide in occupied Kashmir.
“No justification for the world to look the other way as […] potential genocide is unleashed” in Kashmir, tweeted former finance minister Asad Umar.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Asia’s Nazi leader”, wondering in a tweet whether European countries will “feign amnesia & let India carry out its ethnic cleansing & genocide in IOK”.
Fear of genocide, ethnic cleansing
On Wednesday, as the National Security Committee announced its decision to downgrade ties with India, lawmakers in a joint session of parliament denounced the action on Kashmir by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi too said he feared “genocide and ethnic cleansing” by India in Kashmir.
The lawmakers later unanimously approved a resolution condemning the action, saying that as a disputed territory, no change in its status could be made by New Delhi under UN resolutions on Kashmir. It also asked India to reverse the changes, lift an indefinite curfew and release all detainees in occupied Kashmir.
Indian authorities have imposed a complete shutdown on Kashmir as the Hindu nationalist-led government in New Delhi scrapped the region’s statehood and special status, including the right to its own constitution — a move slammed by Pakistan.
The changes include lifting a ban on property purchases by nonresidents of Kashmir, opening the way for Indians outside the territory to invest and settle there. The Muslim population worries that such measures would change Kashmir’s demography, culture and way of life.
The Indian government has shut off most communications, including internet, cellphone and landline networks, with occupied Kashmir. Thousands of additional troops were sent to the already heavily militarised region out of fear the government’s steps could spark unrest. Insurgent groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.