–PM says India took his repeated offers for peace for granted
–Terms Modi ‘fascist and Hindu supremacist’ who intends to eradicate Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population
–Says if provoked, Pakistan will respond, warns of nuclear catastrophe
— Indian envoy says talks in past weren’t good for India, wants Pakistan to take ‘irreversible and verifiable’ action against terrorism
As India continues to ramp up tensions with Pakistan over occupied Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan has ruled out talks with India in an interview with the New York Times, saying he won’t seek talks with India anymore after repeated rebuffs by New Delhi.
“There is no point in talking to them. I mean, I have done all the talking. Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement,” said Imran Khan in an interview at Prime Minister’s Office that was published on Wednesday.
Since his first day in the office, the prime minister has been urging his Indian counterpart for talks. During his first address after winning the general elections, he had said: “If India comes and takes one step towards us, we will take two steps toward them. Right now it is one-sided where India is constantly just blaming us.”
Then Pulwama incident happened in Feb this year when India accused Pakistan of orchestrating the attack and launched an airstrike in Balakot. Pakistan responded with destroying an Indian plane and the capturing the pilot the next day.
Now, Pakistan and India’s ties have hit the lowest ebb after India revoked Kashmir’s special status in a unilateral move on Aug 5. Since then, Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India, suspended trade and is planning to take the Kashmir matter to the International Court of Justice.
“There is nothing more that we can do,” the PM said, ruling out any talks with the neighbouring country.
Speaking about India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Imran described him “as a fascist and Hindu supremacist who intends to eradicate Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population and populate the region with Hindus”.
“The most important thing is that eight million people’s lives are at risk. We are all worried that there is ethnic cleansing and genocide about to happen,” Imran Khan said.
During the interview, he also expressed Pakistan’s oft-repeated concern that India might undertake a deceptive “false-flag operation” in Kashmir to try to justify military action against Pakistan. And Pakistan, he said, would be forced to respond.
“And then you are looking at two nuclear-armed countries eyeball to eyeball, and anything can happen,” he told the NYT.
“My worry is that this can escalate and for two nuclear-armed countries, it should be alarming for the world what we are facing now.”
INDIA SAYS TALKS DEPENDS ON ACTION AGAINST TERRORISM:
Responding to Imran’s comments, Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla rejected the criticism.
“Our experience has been that every time we have taken an initiative towards peace, it has turned out badly for us,” he said, adding, “We expect Pakistan to take credible, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism.”
The ambassador also claimed that things were going “back to normal” in occupied Kashmir.
“Restrictions are being eased based on the ground situation. Public utility services, banks and hospitals are functioning normally,” he said.
“There are adequate food stocks. Some restrictions on communication are in the interests of safety and security of the citizenry.”
According to Time magazine, at least 2,300 people have been detained in during the security lockdown and communications blackout imposed that continued for the 22nd consecutive day on Thursday. Those arrested include pro-India Kashmiri leaders who have been held in jails and other makeshift facilities.
The report further said that Indian officials had access to all police records but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to talk to reporters and feared reprisals from hardline superiors.
“At present everyone in Kashmir is being immensely subjugated. But women are the biggest victims of this inhumane siege,” Al Jazeera disclosed in an exclusive report.
Although, the report observed, before scrapping Article 370, one of the Indian government’s arguments for the decision was that it would lead to gender equality and the “emancipation” of women in the Muslim-majority region, however, days later, a number of the BJP politicians made sexist comments directed towards Kashmiri women.
On August 10, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was quoted as saying: “Some people are now saying that as Kashmir is open, [our] brides will be brought from there.”