Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the international community to play their due role in resolving the Kashmir issue and warned them that the dispute — which has now become a flashpoint between India and Pakistan — carries the potential of turning into a nuclear war and impacting the entire world.
In a wide-ranging interview with Al Jazeera, the prime minister said that Pakistan has limited options to address the situation.
“There is not much we can do except approach all international organisations that were set up after the first World War — mainly the United Nations,” he said, adding that the United States, China, Russia, and European countries are all being approached by Pakistan over the matter.
He expressed his resentment over the lukewarm global response after India’s revocation of occupied Kashmir’s autonomous status alleging that India’s one billion people’s market is silencing any due response.
“They don’t realise that if they do not intervene right now, it will have consequences for not only the subcontinent but the world’s trade — everyone will be affected by this,” he warned.
Asked if he shares concerns voiced by his Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about an accidental war between the two nuclear-armed powers, he said: “Absolutely.”
He accused India of diverting attention from the ‘genocide’ in Kashmir by blaming Pakistan on cross-border terrorism. Khan also fears that the harsh restriction in Kashmir will lead to ‘some sort of reaction’ from the Kashmiris for which India might blame Pakistan.
Describing him as a pacifist, the Pak PM warned that any conventional war between two nuclear powers has “every possibility to end up in a nuclear war.”
He said he would take the opportunity to highlight the Kashmir issue in his address at United Nations General Assembly later this month, sidelining climate change and Islamophobia.
When asked about his position on dialogue with India, he said he sees no breakthrough.
He said when he came to power he tried to engage with India in good faith only to hit a wall.
“Now, I realise that this (our overtures) was misinterpreted. This BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) extreme right wing, racist, fascist government was treating us as if we were scared of them and they took it as appeasement,” he added.
He said Pakistan stopped the peace push as it realized India had only one thing in mind: that is to push Pakistan on UN terror list that would impose sanctions.
The PM also spoke about the abrupt cancellation of talks between the United States and the Taliban after nearly a year of negotiations.
“I hope that President Trump will get the talks going again, because there is no other solution,” he said.
However, he declined to criticize China for the atrocities against Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority.
“Frankly, we have been facing so many of our internal problems right now that we haven’t... I don’t know much about this problem,” he admitted, saying: “For us China has been the best friend.”
“This is utter and utter nonsense,” said the prime minister when asked about a reportedly fast shrinking space for dissent and a crackdown against media.
Pakistan is one of the freest places in the world when it come to the freedom of media, he insisted.