Pakistan PM Imran warns of 'bloodbath' after Kashmir curfew lifted - GulfToday

Pakistan PM Imran warns of 'bloodbath' after Kashmir curfew lifted

Imran Khan speaks during the 74th Session of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday. AFP

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned on Friday there would be a bloodbath when India lifts its curfew in disputed Kashmir and that any all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations would reverberate far beyond their borders.

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Imran made the remarks in an impassioned speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly after India last month removed the decades-old autonomy in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan.

"What's he going to do when he lifts the curfew? Does he think the people of Kashmir are quietly going to accept the status quo?" Imran said. "What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath." He added: "They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them. ... Kashmiris will be further radicalised."

Imran Khan addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. Reuters

"If this goes wrong, you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst," Imran said. "If a conventional war starts between the two countries ... anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice — either you surrender or you fight for your freedom till death?

"What will we do? I ask myself this question ... and we will fight. ... and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders."

In its clampdown in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, which has a Muslim majority, India flooded the territory — already one of the world's most militarized zones - with troops.

It imposed severe restrictions on movements and cut all telephone, mobile phone and internet connections. Thousands of people were arrested.

New Delhi has since eased some of the curbs, although no prominent detainees have been freed and mobile and internet connections remain suspended.

Imran Khan speaks during the 74th Session of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York. AFP

Imran address the United Nations a day after the senior US diplomat for South Asia called for a lowering of rhetoric between India and Pakistan while saying that Washington hoped to see rapid action by India to lift restrictions it has imposed in Kashmir and the release of detainees there.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the UN assembly shortly before Imran made no mention of Kashmir, or Pakistan, in his speech, concentrating mainly on Indian's efforts to protect the environment.

Ahead of Modi and Imran's appearances at the UN, residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir expressed hope that their speeches would turn world attention to an unprecedented lockdown in the region.

"We really hope these leaders will do something to rid us of conflict and suppression," said Nazir Ahmed, a schoolteacher on the outskirts of Srinagar, the main city in Indian-held Kashmir. "Conflict is like a cancer hitting every aspect of life. And Kashmiris have been living inside this cancer for decades now."

As the two leaders spoke on Friday, large dueling protests supporting and opposing India's action in Kashmir were taking place across the street from UN headquarters.


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