Pakistan doesn't want any war, but if India starts one the country could have no option other than to respond, Pakistan’s president said on Monday.
Arif Alvi spoke to a group of Turkish journalists in capital Islamabad ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech, which is expected to highlight the Kashmir conflict at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
"We don't want war, it is not good for us to be dragged into war. But what would happen if India wants to start one? The Pakistani army is well prepared for this war and it is very experienced. In the past, we've fought a lot against terror in the country," Alvi said after underlining the importance of dialogue between the two nuclear-armed countries for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will announce action regarding the Kashmir issue after the UN General Assembly, he added.
The leaders of India and Pakistan are set to address the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Mounting tensions between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India flared further following the scrapping of the special status of the picturesque valley, which is divided between the two neighbors in parts with both claiming it in full.
Kashmiri leaders and citizens fear the Indian government's step is an attempt to change the demographic makeup of the Muslim-majority state, where some groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
Balking at New Delhi’s move, Pakistan has also downgraded bilateral relations, suspended trade, and expelled the Indian high commissioners.
Kashmiri leader thanks Turkey for its support
A Kashmiri leader has expressed gratitude for the Turkish government and its people for standing by them in a difficult time when millions of Kashmiri are under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after the Indian government scrapped the special status of the valley.Talking with a delegation of Turkish journalists in capital Islamabad, the convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir chapter, Syed Abdullah Gilani, said Turkey and Pakistan are the two countries who raised voice and supported the Kashmiri people on every international forum."We are thankful to the Turkish government and people of Turkey who have always stood by us," Gilani said.''Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defended us in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting,'' he added.Gilani said that there are two countries in the world, Turkey and Pakistan, and their great peoples who always supported them in difficult times.Talking about the current situation of Indian-administered Kashmir, Gilani informed that the valley has been completely disconnected from the rest of the world since Aug. 5, and Indian authorities put over eight million people in a cage."People are facing food and medicine shortage, and even they can not go to the hospital," Gilani said.Those who are resisting against the Indian illegal move are facing brutal actions of Indian forces, he added."You can freely go and stay in Azad Kashmir but you couldn't go to Indian side of Kashmir," Gilani told Turkish journalists.He termed the international community is responsible for current situation of Kashmir who never put pressure on India to implement the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Kashmir.- Speaker of Azad KashmirSpeaker of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Shah Ghulam Qadir, said that India declared that Indian forces have arrested over 4,000 people and leaders in Indian-occupied Kashmir and shifted to different jails across the country.Talking to Turkish journalists' delegation in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Qadir said Indian forces have arrested and detained most of the well-known people like lawyers, local councilors, civil society activists and journalists."The Indian government is following the Israeli methods of demographic change in Kashmir same as Israel does in Palestine," Qadir said.Prime Minister Modi implements the RSS ideology of forcing the minorities to convert into Hinduism otherwise they kill them or force them to leave the country, he added.RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh is a prominent Hindu supremacist organization which gave birth to the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)."The aim behind Indian government's move on Aug.5 is to bring Hindus into Kashmir to buy properties and change the majority of Muslims into minority in the only Muslim majority state in India," Qadir explained.The Kashmiri leader added that their struggle for freedom would continue as the Kashmiri on both sides of the control line between Pakistan and India are united against the New Delhi administration."We are ready to give our lives for freedom," he concluded.Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status, with the government blocking communication access and imposing restriction on movement to thwart any protests in the region.Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.India said that 93% of the restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency could not verify independently.From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.Also, the Indian government further downgraded and divided the disputed region into two centrally controlled “union territories.''India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.
"Nuclear weapons under the control of fascists in India"
The recent border skirmishes in the Himalayan region of disputed Kashmir invoked fears of a larger military conflict and a possible nuclear war between the two neighbors.
"The most important problem is that the control of nuclear weapons in India lies with fascists. The world is in great danger," Alvi warned referring to India's ruling Hindu nationalist administration.
Alvi also compared India's anti-minority policies in the last 30 years to Adolf Hitler's ideology, saying: "The party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and Hitler as its role model."
He urged India to release political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir and follow the UN Security Council resolutions on holding a plebiscite in the region.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir, in addition to the three-week long Kargil skirmish in 1999.
According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
India sends hundreds of detainees from Kashmir to jails
Many of thousands of people including politicians, activists and common people who were detained in Indian-administered Kashmir after the Indian government revoked special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month were moved to jails outside the state.In northern Indian city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, which is famous for the Taj Mahal, many Kashmiri families have been visiting the city just to meet their near and dear ones lodged in jail.Ishtiaq Ahmed came all the way from Kashmir to meet his 42-year-old son. He travelled from Srinagar to New Delhi and from there to Agra. He had a meeting for almost 20 minutes with his son. He was not interested in sharing more details about his meeting with his son.According to local sources, 292 people from Jammu and Kashmir have been lodged in different jails of Uttar Pradesh. 85 of them are in Agra jail. According to jail authorities, those lodged in jail in Agra include politicians, students, Islamic preachers and businessmen.Speaking to The Indian Express earlier, Sanjeev Tripathi, DIG (Prisons), Agra Zone, said: “Prisoners have been brought to various jails from Kashmir. Currently, 85 prisoners are lodged in the Agra Central Jail. They were transferred under high-security observation, and traffic route diversions were made. It is possible that more prisoners could be brought in. Their families, after due verification, will be allowed to meet them in the coming weeks. No other changes have been made in the prison to accommodate them.”Jammu and Kashmir is under near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5 after India scrapped the special provisions. India blocked communications and imposed strict restrictions to thwart any rebellion while political leaders in the region have been detained as the right groups repeatedly called on New Delhi to lift the restrictions and release political detainees.Meanwhile, restrictions were lifted from most parts of Kashmir on Saturday, but remained in force in the Handwara area of Kupwara district as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, said news agency Press Trust of India(PTI).Officials said restrictions have been eased out in most areas of Kashmir, said PTI.Security deployment remained in vulnerable areas and mobile and internet services were yet to be restored in most parts of the Valley 48 days after the government revoked special status of the state.
No contact with parents, Kashmiri man told Pakistani FM
A Kashmiri man told Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Madinah, Saudi Arabia that he has lost contact with his parents from last 48 days.The Pakistani foreign minister posted a video on his Twitter account on Saturday in which a Kashmiri man was briefing him on the current situation in his home town."Yesterday in the holy city of Madinah [Saudi Arabia] this young man told me he has not spoken to his aging parents in 48 days. He told me of the unprecedented violence in Pulwama in IOK [Indian Occupied Kashmir]. I promised him Pakistan is fighting at every diplomatic forum for the rights of Kashmiris," Qureshi tweeted.In the video, the Kashmiri man, who met him in Masjid al-Nabawi, told Qureshi that there is one landline number in their area but no one is picking it up."The situation is very bad and there is a lot of violence in Kashmir. There is one landline number in our area, I tried my best to call and spoke with my parents but the person sitting there is disconnecting the call," Kashmiri man told the Pakistani foreign minister.He added that his elder brother had been martyred in 1993 while his maternal was also killed.Qureshi told the Kashmiri man that his country stands by the Kashmiri people and they wouldn't leave them alone."Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to the UN General Assembly session where we will fight the Kashmir case," the minister informed.Qureshi also prayed and said: "We pray that you [Kashmiri people] get freedom and your right to self determination. Kashmir will be free and all Pakistanis are with you."Qureshi, who was part of Prime Minister Imran Khan's delegation, arrived on Thursday on a two-day visit ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.Khan appraised Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of the latest development in Jammu and Kashmir.Later Premier Khan and his delegation performed Umrah before leaving for New York on Saturday.Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status as the government has blocked communication access and imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the region.With the new move, the Indian government further downgraded and divided the disputed region into two centrally controlled “union territories” or UT.Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.