ISLAMABAD - Urging the international community to play its due role in resolution of Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that if the neighbours failed to resolve their issues, a Pulwama-like incident could drag them into a nuclear war.

“Pakistan will never accept the Indian efforts to annex the state of Kashmir,” said Prime Minister Khan while giving a policy statement in the joint session of parliament, convened to discuss the illegal revocation of the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) by the Indian government.

After the speeches of prominent lawmakers, the house today (Wednesday) will pass a joint resolution against the Indian clampdown in Kashmir and the illegal amendment in its constitution to the detriment of Kashmiris.

On Tuesday, the joint opposition created rumpus for not including debate on repeal of articles 370 and 35-A by India in the agenda items. They chanted slogans ‘Modi Ka Jo Yar Hai – Ghadar Hai’, ‘Kashmir Pe Sodaybazi –Na-manzoor’ and ‘Prime Minister Ko Hazir Karo’. The speaker rushed to suspend the proceedings for 20 minutes to avoid the messy situation. The senior members of opposition and government engaged with the speaker to cool down the temperatures.

The agenda of the proceedings ‘Order of the day’ was amended at the asking the opposition and distributed among the parliamentarian. The house, which was suspended for twenty minutes, took four hours to resume after the prime minister came in the house.

Addressing the joint session, Prime Minister Imran Khan made it clear that Pakistan will never accept the Indian efforts to annex Kashmir. He was of the view that the revocation of articles 370 and 35A by Indian government will further intensify the freedom struggle of Kashmiri people.

The Indian step of revocation of Kashmir’s special status contravenes all relevant UN resolutions, Indian courts’ decisions and the public opinion, he said.

Imran Khan expressed the fear that the Hindutva government of Narendra Modi will now do ethnic cleansing in Kashmir to change the demography of the territory. The current Indian government was a follower of RSS that “believes in racist ideology against all the minorities in that country,” he said.

He said Pakistan will raise the issue at all international forums, including the UN Security Council and the General Assembly. All heads of states will also be approached and apprised of this issue, besides sensitizing the international media of human rights violations being committed in IOK, he shared with the house.

Sharing the historical background, he said the Father of the Nation Mohammed Ali Jinnah had recognised the bigotry and racism of extremist Hindus much earlier and supported the Two Nation Theory to secure for the Muslims of India a separate homeland.

“Even those people in India who did not believe in Two Nation Theory have realised its importance now,” he said.

The prime minister said that after coming to power he sought to improve relations with all the neighbours including India, as he had a vision to rid the country of poverty. He offered India that if it takes one step, Pakistan will respond with two. However, his hand of friendship was not reciprocated by its counterparts in India.

He said after the Pulwama attack, he had told India that Pakistan had nothing to do with it as it was a local reaction. But, Indians blamed Pakistan for that incident “without any proof and launched a provocative action on February 26 this year against us which was befittingly responded to by our valiant armed forces”. Imran Khan said Pakistan even returned the captured Indian pilot as “we believe in humanity and resolving of issues through talks”. The attitude of Indian government after elections in their country revealed that they were not serious in holding dialogue and resolving the bilateral issues peacefully, he said.

“What happened yesterday has only confirmed my suspicion [about India’s unwillingness to talk]. This is not a decision they [the BJP] have taken out of the blue. It was part of their election manifesto all along. 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.”

“What they did in Kashmir is in accordance with their ideology. They have a racist ideology,” he declared. “They have violated their own country’s and international laws to [uphold] their ideology.

About his meeting with President Donald Trump, he said he sought his mediation for resolution of Kashmir issue as it has been holding the people of the region hostage for decades. But, the Modi government has taken the illegal step to further deteriorate the situation, he added. He said this period in history will be remembered as a dark chapter.

“Even in their domestic politics, the Indian government has cornered the opposition parties and tarnished the image of a secular state,” he said.

Khan said not only Pakistan, but the whole Muslim world understands and recognises the just struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination.

The prime minister said the appeasement of India will not work, as it did not do in 1930s in case of Hitler.

“This [the Kashmir unrest] is going to become a big issue now. The people who have kept their resistance alive despite state brutality over the last five years will not stop just because they [the BJP] have changed a law. In fact, this is going to get more serious,” he warned.

“They [Indian state forces] will now crack down even harder on the Kashmiri people. 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. With an approach of this nature, incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back.

“What will happen then? They will attack us and we will respond. The war can go both ways [...] But if we fight a war in which we have resolved to fight till the last drop of our blood is shed, who will win that war?” he asked.

“No one will win such a war and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail — this is what will happen if you logically follow the chain of events that have been triggered.

“We want the global leadership to take note. My party and I are taking the responsibility to approach the leaders of the world and apprise them of what is happening in Kashmir. I know the Western world, and I feel like they are not sufficiently aware of what is happening 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.”

Premier Khan again took the floor to respond to the points raised by Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, asking the opposition to present their suggestions to tackle the current situation.

“Should we attack India?” he posed a question, in response to Shehbaz’s criticism that the government has not come up with a befitting response to the neighbouring country’s high-handedness. Khan said that all measures will be taken to defend the interests of Kashmir and Pakistan.

Shehbaz speech

Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, on his turn, called for a decisive response to India’s decisions regarding Kashmir, terming the whole affair a “massive foreign policy failure” on part of PTI-led government.

He said he never advocated war but wanted PM Khan “to inspire and lead [the nation]”. “If you want to attack [India], it is your choice,” he said.

Sharif, in his speech, said Indian Prime Minister’s attempt to occupy the state of Kashmir has a direct bearing on security and integrity of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan want to know what response the government will take to counter the situation.

He said Modi government not only usurped the rights of Kashmiris, but also challenged the dignity and honour of Pakistan. This action by India was a slap in the face of UNSC and international community also, he commented. He said Pakistan wanted to resolve issues peacefully with dignity and respect, as war is no solution to any problem.

Opposition leader, in an emotional tone, said “they will cut their hands if someone tried to lay them on our jugular vein [Kashmir]”. “We will not let India make another Palestine in shape of Kashmir...as our nation is ready for sacrifices,” he said.

Questioning the foreign policy of the country, he said that no major country or leader except the Turkish president expressed support for Pakistan in this critical time, and remarked, “Is it not isolation? Is it not a failure of foreign policy?”

Bilawal’s address

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on his turn, also slammed the Modi government’s attack on the Muslims of Kashmir.

Like Shehbaz, he also asked the premier to demonstrate the kind of leadership which “every Pakistani expects from him”.

commenting on Modi government’s move, he said, “It is an attack on India [too], on the idea of India as a secular democratic state where all citizens have the right to be treated equally,” he said. It was an attack on the India of Nehru and Gandhi and Vajpayee, he added.

“It was an attack not only on Kashmir but an attack on the UN, an attack on international law, norms and precedents, democracy, rule of law, and inalienable right to self determination,” the PPP leader said.

In Tuesday’s proceedings, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N’s senior member Khwaja Saad Rafique attended the house on production orders.

Monitoring Desk adds: A seven-member committee has been constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan to recommend legal, political and diplomatic responses to development in the Kashmir situation, reported TV channels.

According to a notification issued on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Attorney-General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, PM’s Special Envoy Ahmed Bilal Sufi and the directors-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, military operations and the Inter-Services Public Relations will be part of the team.