Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a joint session of the Parliament to discuss its course of action after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and proposed its bifurcation into two Union Territories. Khan said that India’s decisions on Kashmir were in accordance with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto, adding that the party had “a racist ideology”, Dawn reported.
“It is, in fact, ingrained in their ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups,” Khan was quoted as saying. “They will try to suppress the Kashmiri resistance with brute force. I fear that they may initiate ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to wipe out the local population.”
Khan further said that the Indian administration’s decision would lead to incidents like Pulwama and that Pakistan would be blamed for it. The prime minister said that India may take action against the country for the attacks, which could trigger a war but no one would win it as it would have “grievous consequences”.
Khan said that he along with his party leaders would take responsibility to approach world leaders to make them aware of the situation in Kashmir. “I will inform them that what the Indian government is doing in Kashmir and what it is doing to Muslims and minorities in India goes against everything the Western world believes in,” Dawn quoted him as saying.
Leader of Opposition in Pakistan’s National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif called for “decisive action” to the Indian government’s decisions. “Is it not our massive failure?” he said. “That we didn’t know what the Indian government was thinking? Yes we are united for the cause of Pakistan but that [unity] should not [come] without self-introspection.”
Pakistan President Arif Alvi had called the joint session on Monday, following the Indian government’s announcements in the Parliament. However, the session had to be adjourned in on Tuesday morning after Opposition lawmakers created a ruckus as the resolution, condemning India’s “illegal actions”, had not mentioned Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had attempted to assure the protesting leaders that Article 370 would be included in the resolution, but had to ultimately adjourn the proceedings as protests continued.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal said that demonstrations were held as the reason for the session, which he said was revocation of Article 370, had not been mentioned in the resolution. Iqbal said that all international laws recognised the border that separates Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as Line of Control. “India tried to convert Line of Control into an international border, which is not a trivial matter,” Dawn quoted him as saying.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said the concerns of the Opposition would be addressed. He said that Kashmiris were looking at Pakistan during this time and that Pakistan would continue its “diplomatic support for their cause”.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he had met members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and requested them to show solidarity by recognising “this unilateral step” by the Indian government. “OIC recognizes that this aggression puts more than 1.5 billion people of South Asia at risk,” Qureshi tweeted. “I reiterated Pakistan’s stance on the peaceful resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and that India’s hostility doesn’t give me much hope for a covenant for peace.”
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa asserted that the Pakistan Army would support Kashmiris in their freedom struggle and was prepared to go to “any extent to fulfill its obligations”. Bajwa presided over a meeting with the Corps Commanders Conference over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Forum fully supported government’s rejection of Indian actions regarding Kashmir,” Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson tweeted. “Pakistan never recognised the sham Indian efforts to legalise its occupation of Jammu and Kashmir through Article 370 or 35-A decades ago efforts which have now been revoked by India itself.”
Pakistan on Monday had condemned the Indian government’s resolution to revoke Kashmir’s special status and its decision to turn the state into a Union Territory with a legislature. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry had said that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory that was internationally recognised, adding that they “would exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps”.