Prime Minister Imran Khan had strong words on Wednesday for India. He called the revocation of occupied Kashmir through scraping Article 370 a ‘strategic blunder.’ He said that this ‘blunder’ could only lead to the region achieving freedom. He addressed a special session of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on 5, August marking the first anniversary of India’s move to annex the disputed valley.
He envigored the Assembly members, after observing that some of them were ‘feeling a bit hopeless.’
A sombre test for the people of occupied Kashmir
“I believe that God is putting Kashmiris through a phase that will end in its freedom.”
The Prime Minister expressed his firm resentment at the Indian premier, saying that “Modi won the elections by playing the ‘hate card,’ and since winning the elections, he has decided to expand that base by revoking Kashmir’s special status.”
“His win with a substantial majority gave him the confidence to do this, and he received massive support from his Hindutva base for the Kashmir step. Second, he assumed that Pakistan would not do anything about it because it sought friendship with India. He thought Pakistan would keep quiet because we needed India. There was arrogance behind all of this,” he said.
“Modi knew that India is a big market in the world right now, and the international community would want to keep good relations with it.”
India, according to him overestimated its importance, because it deems itself a counter-balance to China.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 2, 2020
“The biggest false assumption that Modi made was that he thought that by posting 800,000 soldiers in the valley, he could strike fear in the hearts of the Kashmiris and then India would be able to change occupied Kashmir’s demography. India thought that when it showed its full might, the Kashmiris would surrender,” the premier said.
“I think Modi made a strategic blunder.”
PM Imran drew lessons from history, comparing the situation to Germany’s Hitler. He warned that nations in the past have been ‘destroyed because of arrogance.’
All eyes on the occupied valley
India is suffering from a misnomer Imran Khan reminded the assembly, as Pakistan has taken a firm stance that Pakistan on the issue and will not give it up.
“The United Nations discussed the Kashmir issue thrice during the last year for the first time since 1965. It also published two reports on human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir.”
PM @ImranKhanPTI playing front foot on foreign policy since July 2018 – esp on Kashmir. Neighbours taken back foot – used to stamping over Pakistani politicans! This is how you can play when you have nothing to hide & nothing to lose…no millions stuck in London & New York! 😍
— najma minhas (@MinhasNajma) August 4, 2020
Citing Pakistan’s achievements on the Kashmir front, he said that he had talked to world leaders, including Donald Trump as well as Angela Merkel.
“I explained to [United States President] Trump twice how Kashmir was a flashpoint. I talked to [German Chancellor] Merkel, [United Kingdom premier] Boris, [French President] Macron, explained to them, made them understand.”
For further exposure, he discussed with the New York Times board the history of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The movement’s second leader and arguably the most influential in terms of their ideology Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar in his book claimed that he was inspired by Hitler’s Germany. Golwalker says in his book that he wishes to see the ‘same’ done in India.
The premier said that after what Modi did in Gujrat, he would not have been allowed to become a leader in any country. He said that Modi’s ill designs had only landed more attention to the Kashmir issue. The premier said that international leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Trump had spoken about what was happening in the occupied valley.
He also praised the Pakistani government for raising awareness about the issue. This was the first time in years that the leaders of the aforementioned nations had paid such high calibre attention to the problem.
“They thought they would torture and crush Kashmiris but the world is watching. There have been discussions in European Union parliament, in the British parliament and the Kashmiri diaspora came out to protest. Never have so many people come out [to protest] as they did outside the United Nations General Assembly.”
He paid tribute to Kashmiris for “how their morale is high even after such torture and provocation”. He said that there was “so much hatred in people for India that no pro-India politician would be able to succeed in occupied Kashmir”.
Just In: United Nations Security Council to hold closed door informal discussions on the issue and situation of Indian Administered Kashmir TONIGHT, this would be the third such consultations since 05Aug’19, diplomatic sources say. #Pakistan #India
— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) August 5, 2020
He acknowledged the sacrifices of the Kashmiri people and praised their high morale despite grave violations of human rights in the occupied valley.
He said that India had entoiled itself in a ‘blind alley.’ If India’s draconian grip slips, occupied Kashmir will be free. With the world watching the only question that remains is how long they can hold on.
He convicted that “we will raise and continue to raise [the Kashmir issue] on every forum,” while addressing Kashmiris.
New political map for the world to see
Explaining the rationale behind the new political map of the country, he said that he wanted to remind the world that Kashmir was a disputed area.
“We have said on every forum that the Kashmir issue should be resolved according to resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and we have written this on the map as well.”
#Pakistan releases new political map. It maintains our principled position on self-determination for #Kashmiris while strengthening Pakistan’s claim over all parts of the erstwhile territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Key features of the new map are as follows 1/6 pic.twitter.com/y1K9VePNF7
— Hassan Akbar (@hass_akbr) August 4, 2020
He also announced a civil award for Syed Ali Geelani who resigned from his post as chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in June. “We will honour Syed Ali Geelani with Nishan-e-Pakistan on Aug 14. Such a person is recognised internationally for sticking to their stance,” he said.
“There will only be one conclusion of this, which is that Kashmir will be freed,” the premier concluded.
Before his address, the premier took part in a “solidarity walk” from the helipad to the nearby Legislative Assembly premises. He was joined there by AJK President Sardar Masood Khan, Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and other dignitaries and civil servants.
PM Imran also laid the foundation stone of a monument to the martyrs of the Kashmir freedom movement, on the assembly premises. The monument, known as the “Resistance Wall” will commemorate the memory of the Kashmiris oppressed by India, according to Radio Pakistan.
The prime minister is also expected to hold meetings with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) representatives and heads of different parliamentary parties in the AJK legislature.
Is international support for Kashmir lacking due to vested interests in India?
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider had read out a resolution that had been passed by the AJK assembly. The resolution firmly lamented India’s actions in occupied Kashmir and thanked, and affirmed unity with the Pakistani nation, for standing with the people of occupied Kashmir.
In his speech, the AJK premier warned that Modi was a “danger to everyone”. He said that India did not get along well with almost all of its neighbours. He claimed that India had wanted to make Bangladesh a “satellite state”, adding that it did not have good relations with Nepal, Bhutan and other countries as well.
The premier said there was a “need to look at the situation [in Kashmir] with cold reason and logic and deal with it accordingly”. He added that he did not want the issue to be dragged for long.
“We are not against Hinduism but against Modi’s ideology,” he clarified.
He advocated urgent actions to resolve the issue and warned that “Kashmir will not be the same in three years” because the Indian government was changing the demography. “India wants to do ethnic cleansing.”
He claimed that the international community was not supporting Kashmir because it had various interests in India. He said that the ‘west’ has monetary and economic interests in India which are deemed more important, explaining the lack of definitive action in the occupied Kashmir region by the international community.
Haider asked the premier to form a team that would plan for where the country should be headed in 2050 and pointed out that “a strong, powerful Pakistan can be a defender of Kashmir”. He said that Pakistan should also launch a “fresh diplomatic offensive” in support of Kashmir.
He suggested that the government enlist the help of Kashmiri leaders and diaspora to raise awareness internationally. “Our high commission in London can play a very important role because of the Kashmiri diaspora there. [The government can also] use the diaspora in Europe and America. The Foreign Office should sit with our leadership.”
Addressing the people in occupied Kashmir, he said: “I want to inform the non-Muslims in occupied Kashmir that prosperity is with Pakistan. I want to tell the people of Jammu to make committees in every village and kick out any non-Kashmiri. Muslim Kashmiris are fighting for Jammu and Ladakh. This is not a religious struggle.”
He refuted Indian claims that there were “terror launch pads” in AJK. “Is there ever a launchpad in a bazaar?” he questioned, adding that “no indiscriminate firing could be done from a bazaar”.