MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday warned that continued repression by Indian troops would push not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in India and other parts of the world into extremism.
“First I want to tell India that the atrocities your army is committing in [occupied] Kashmir will give rise to extremism. The people who are facing your tyranny will fight it by all means,” he said in his address to a big gathering at K.H. Khurshid Mini Stadium in the heart of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital.
The participants, including women and students, vociferously chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans throughout the rally. Many of them were holding AJK flags.
“What India is doing in Kashmir will draw a strong reaction. Not only from the Kashmiris, but also from Indian Muslims as well as Muslims across the world,” said the prime minister.
Recounting the plight of Indian Muslims, such as lynching by cow vigilantes, he asked whether Indian premier Narendra Modi was giving a message to them that there was no room and no rights for them in India and that they should live there like second-class citizens or animals.
“Are you telling them you can convert the majority in Kashmir into minority through 900,000 soldiers and kill and blind children and the elderly? When you say that India is just for the Hindus, you push 220 million Indian Muslims to extremism,” Mr Khan said, adding that marginalising people led to radicalising them.
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He warned that 1.25 billion Muslims were looking at Kashmir and they would also be driven towards extremism and take up guns if the world continued to behave as a silent spectator. He recalled that a 20-year-old Kashmiri boy had blown himself up in an Indian army convoy because he had been humiliated and tortured by Indian troops, but India had blamed Pakistan for the attack.
Recalling the Balakot bombing by Indian jets and shooting down of an Indian plane the following day, the prime minister said Pakistan had returned the Indian pilot because it wanted to resolve issues through dialogue and not war. “But Narendra Modi commented that we have returned him [pilot] out of fear. Listen Mr Modi, the believers do not fear death; we did not return him out of fear but because of our quest for peace.”
The prime minister said he had decided to become an ambassador of Kashmiris in the world because of being a Pakistani, a Muslim and a human being. “The issue of Kashmir is a humanitarian problem today,” he said, adding that India’s 900,000-strong army contingent had locked down every Kashmiri for the past 40 days.