ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday vowed to take on the “racist” ideology of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the wake of its government stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status and also promised to raise the issue on every international forum including the UN Security Council.
“What they [BJP] did in Kashmir is in accordance with their ideology. They have a racist ideology,” the premier said while delivering his policy statement in the joint session of parliament – giving a forceful rebuke of Prime Minister Narenda Modi-led government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Indian constitution that has paved the way for outside to buy land and settle in the occupied valley.
“I fear that the Indian government will now [after] will resort to ethnic cleansing in Kashmir,” he added.
Warning that India’s move could provoke conflict in the region, the prime minister said he would also raise the issue with heads of state and take the matter to the International Criminal Court.
PM Imran demanded action from the global community as he accused Modi of violating international law in pursuit of an anti-Muslim agenda in India.
“If the world does not act today… (if) the developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that we will not be responsible for,” he added.
“The Indian government has violated its own constitution to promote its ideology and deprived occupied Kashmir of its special status.”
The premier went on to warn that “there will be a reaction” from Kashmiris if India tried to “crush them”, likely leading to more violence in the region which in the past has brought the nuclear-armed rivals close to conflict.
“The BJP does not consider Kashmiris as their equals. They will try to crush them leading to a reaction that could be a Pulwama-like incident,” he noted. “Then they will blame us [Pakistan] for it.”
PM Imran reiterated that the armed forces of Pakistan would retaliate if India pursued its aggressive designs against the country.
He added that India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution was planned all along and part of Modi’s election manifesto.
“Pakistan wants better ties with neighbouring countries but the incumbent Indian government is following the RSS’s [Indian right-wing outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] fascist ideology.”
Referring to his earlier move to extend an olive branch to India, the prime minister said the country had conveyed to New Delhi that it was not involved in the Pulwama attack.
“But they used Pakistan as a scapegoat,” he said, adding that Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan, was also returned to the neighbouring country as a goodwill gesture and send a message that Islamabad bore no ill will.
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, taking the floor, slammed the government for its delayed response to the situation in occupied Kashmir.
“It has been more than 36 hours that the occupation forces have imposed a curfew in the region and there is a possibility of genocide but the government has failed to issue a policy statement in this regard,” the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president said.
“Pakistan has to adopt a strong stance on Kashmir today to let the Indian government know that we will not back down,” he added.
The opposition leader said it was a massive failure that the Indian government did what they wanted to and the PTI-led government was rejoicing Donald Trump’s offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
“I want to ask you whether this was Trump’s trump card or trap card. It is a major failure of our foreign policy”
Shehbaz said Pakistan would have to make sacrifices for Kashmir.
Earlier, the opposition objected to a resolution presented by the government condemning India’s unilateral move to revoke Article 370 and strip occupied Kashmir of its special status.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser adjourned the session soon after the opposition objected to the resolution saying that it did not mention India’s revocation of Article 370.
PPP Senator Raza Rabbani said the main issue was not highlighted in the resolution.
In response to the opposition parties’ heckling, Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari remarked that the opposition was “there to make noise and not discuss the Kashmir issue”.
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed also highlighted the need to mention Article 370, which according to him was the most significant matter that needed to be discussed in the session.
On the demand of the NA speaker, Azam Swati amended the motion and mentioned Article 370 in the earlier tabled resolution.