UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed Wednesday to respond to any Indian aggression in Pakistani Kashmir, vowing it was time to teach New Delhi a lesson.
Khan’s comments came amid rising tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals after India canceled the autonomy of Indian Kashmir last week.
Khan said in a televised address from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan’s Kashmir division, that “the Pakistani army has information that they (India) are planning to do something in Pakistani Kashmir, and he is ready and will make a strong response.”
Khan’s warnings marked a sharp escalation in Pakistani rhetoric after Islamabad said last week it was enslaving a “military option” to resolve the dispute.
“It is time to teach New Delhi a lesson,” Khan said in a speech marking his country’s independence.
This comes more than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a surprise executive decree abolishing the special status granted to this region in the Himalayas.
In response, Pakistan launched a diplomatic campaign aimed at halting the resolution and formally asked the UN Security Council late Tuesday to hold an emergency session to discuss India’s “illegal actions”.
Pakistan also expelled the Indian ambassador, halted bilateral trade and suspended cross-border transport services, in steps unlikely to affect New Delhi, analysts said.
Indian Kashmir has been closed for more than a week as tens of thousands of troops are sent in reinforcements to Srinagar, its main city, and other towns and villages, with curfews in the area and telephone and Internet lines being cut.
Indian forces are patrolling the main roads of the province, and the security forces on Friday used tear gas to disperse a demonstration in which about 8,000 people participated to protest the government’s move.
The governor of Jammu and Kashmir said the curfew on Indian Kashmir would be eased after Independence Day on Thursday, but telephone and Internet lines would remain cut off, local media reported on Wednesday.
– Celebrations despite the tension –
Indian authorities have vowed to ease restrictions on freedom of movement in Indian Kashmir after independence day celebrations ended on Thursday.
Last Sunday, Khan sharply criticized the international community against the backdrop of New Delhi’s decision, wondering whether the world would only watch the growing Hindu nationalist sentiment in the predominantly Muslim region, likening to condone Hitler’s pre-World War II outbreak.
Despite the tension, Islamabad went ahead with its Independence Day celebrations, which began after midnight on Tuesday with fireworks in major cities. The streets were crowded with people waving flags of cars and motorcycles.
In August 1947, British-ruled India was divided into two independent states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Millions have been forced to leave their homes in one of the largest mass exoduses in history, which experts estimate has killed at least one million people in sectarian violence.
Kashmir is divided into Indian and Pakistani and the dispute over the two countries has led to two wars. A separatist insurgency has left tens of thousands dead.
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