Pakistan could go to war with India after Kashmir crackdown, warns Imran Khan

Pakistani army chief says military ready to ‘fulfil its obligations’ to Kashmiris

Tim Wyatt
Thursday 08 August 2019 17:47 BST
New Delhi protest over India's revocation of Kashmir status

Pakistan has warned war could break out with India after its neighbour announced plans to revoke the semi-autonomous status of the disputed region of Kashmir.

The prime minister, Imran Khan, said on Tuesday he was worried Kashmiris angered by their government’s efforts to more fully absorb the restive province into the rest of the country would launch an attack on the thousands of Indian soldiers and police officers stationed in Kashmir.

If New Delhi chooses to blame Pakistan for such an attack, a full armed conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers would be the end result, he cautioned.

The head of Pakistan’s army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has also vowed his forces will “go to any extent” to support the people of Kashmir.

“The Pakistan army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” he said.

“We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard.”

Muslim-majority Kashmir has had special constitutional protections in India, which is almost 80 per cent Hindu.

But on Monday the government announced it had revoked the provisions which prevent non-Kashmiris from buying property, ensure local government jobs for Kashmiris, and ensure the region has control over its own laws.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed to the province and local internet access turned off, in an attempt to pre-emptively quell the expected protests by Kashmiris.

Mr Khan also said he would take Kashmir’s grievances to the United Nations Security Council.

“We will fight it at every forum. We’re thinking how we can take it to International Court [of Justice] ... to the United Nations Security Council,” he told Pakistan’s parliament.

New Delhi protest over India's revocation of Kashmir status

Pakistan, which claims Kashmir as its own territory and already administers a part of the state, and India have previously fought two wars over the Himalayan region.

Most recently, after a Kashmiri terrorist group killed 44 Indian police officers, India launched air strikes into Pakistani territory and Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets in retaliation.

Reports from Kashmir said the streets of the capital Srinagar were eerily quiet amid a suffocating security presence and communications blackout.

Gatherings of more than four people have also been banned and shops are running out of supplies after several days of panic buying.

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Indian authorities have also arrested several local Kashmiri politicians, including two former state chief ministers.

“We might see an eruption when the guard is down,” Shah Faesal, the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, said. “People are taking it as an act of humiliation.”

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