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September 19, 2019

Imran warns against waging jihad in IOK

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September 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD/TORKHAM: Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned citizens that anyone who goes to wage a jihad in Indian-occupied Kashmir will hurt the territory’s cause, as anger simmers between Islamabad and New Delhi over the disputed region.

Indian authorities are waiting for “any excuse” to crack down in the Himalayan region, he warned during a speech in Torkham, on the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday, promising again to raise the issue at the United Nations General Assembly next week.

Tensions have spiked over held Kashmir, since Delhi moved on August 5 to revoke the autonomy of the disputed territory. Since then, leaders in both countries have engaged in an escalating war of words. Islamabad has promised to stand by the Kashmiris following the move and publicly accused India of carrying out a potential genocide in the region.

“If someone from Pakistan goes to India to fight... he will be the first to do an extreme injustice to Kashmiris, he will be the enemy of Kashmiris and of Pakistan,” Khan said. “They need an excuse,” he said of Indian troops. “It will provide them an excuse for torture and barbarism.”

Any such move on the part of individuals, he said, would enable India to exploit the situation, which would term it “cross-border infiltration”. “Don’t give India an excuse to cover its human right violations in Kashmir. This can make life more difficult for the Kashmiris, who are already suffering at the hands of 900,000 violent and oppressive Indian troops,” he said.

He said Pakistan would not hold any dialogue with India until the curfew was lifted in the valley. He vowed that he would forcefully present the case of Kashmiris at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York. “I promise to fight for Kashmir in a way it had never been done before.”

Khan also spoke at length about the current deadlock in Taliban-US dialogue. He said the break down in talks is “unfortunate”, and vowed Pakistan will make “every possible effort” for the resumption of negotiations as “peace in the region is also in the interest of Pakistan”.

“If the Taliban-US talks do not move ahead, it will be a tragedy and I will insist on [the resumption of dialogue] during my meeting with US President Donald Trump on [upcoming] Monday,” Khan said, after inaugurating a new round-the-clock operational Torkhum Terminal.

Trump confirmed his meetings with Prime Minister Khan and Indian premier Narendra Modi in the upcoming days. As per media reports, Trump was quoted as saying: “I’ll see Prime Minister Modi and I will be meeting with (prime ministers of) India and Pakistan and I think a lot of progress has been made there. A lot of progress.”

Trump’s remarks have made it very likely that he will be meeting Khan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York next week. Both Pakistani and Indian prime ministers are scheduled to address the UNGA on September 27.

In his speech at Torkham, Khan said Pakistan would push for the resumption of US Taliban peace talks, as the Afghans have been mired in conflict for the past 40 years.

Peace in Afghanistan would also help bring peace and economic development to the whole region, he said, adding that the opening of the Torkhum Terminal would boost bilateral trade with the neighbouring country and create job opportunities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province which was badly hurt by the war on terror.

The Prime Minister said since peace and peaceful coexistence are a part of his party’s manifesto, his government continuously tries to have good relations with neighbours, including Afghanistan. It has engaged President Ashraf Ghani for confidence building.

To a question, Khan said he planned to have a meeting with a Taliban delegation only after the success of Taliban-US dialogue and the signing of a deal, with the intention

of bringing the Afghan government and the Taliban closer.

The Prime Minister strongly condemned the recent unpleasant incident of the ransacking of a Hindu temple in Ghotki, terming it a conspiracy and an act of sabotage before his address to the UNGA. He said Pakistan’s Constitution fully guarantees equal rights for all, including minorities belonging to any faith.

The Prime Minister categorically rejected any concession for jailed political leaders who had “plundered the national wealth”, saying their accountability is a must to put the country back on the right track.

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