ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed grave concern at the illegal and unilateral move by India to scrap occupied Kashmir’s special status and said that he fears that New Delhi will ethnically cleanse the disputed valley.
“I fear the Indian government will now do ethnic cleansing in Kashmir,” said the premier while addressing the joint session of parliament.
“Occupied Kashmir has turned into a graveyard and the movement for freedom can not be crushed by force.”
“What they did in Kashmir is in accordance with their ideology. They have a racist ideology.”
The premier reiterated that the armed forces of Pakistan will retaliate if India pursues aggressive designs against the country.
He added that India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the constitution was planned all along and was part of Narendar Modi’s election manifesto.
PM Imran said Pakistan wants better ties with neighboring countries but the incumbent Indian government was following the RSS’s fascist ideology.
Referring to his earlier olive branch to New Delhi, the prime minister said the country strongly conveyed to India that it was not involved in the Pulwama attack.
“But they used Pakistan as a scapegoat,” he said and added that the Indian pilot was also returned as a goodwill gesture to convey that Islamabad did not have any ill intentions.
“The Indian government violated its own constitution to promote its ideology and scrapped occupied Kashmir’s special status.”
Shehbaz slams government
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, taking the floor, slammed the government for its delayed response to the situation in occupied Kashmir.
“It has been more than 36 hours that the occupation forces have imposed a curfew in the region and there is a possibility of genocide but the government has failed to issue a policy statement in this regard.”
Pakistan has to adopt a strong stance on Kashmir today to let the Indian government know that we will not back down, added Shehbaz.
“Is it our massive failure that the Indian government did what they wanted to and our government was rejoicing Donald Trump’s offer to mediate the Kashmir issue,” said the opposition leader.
“I want to ask you whether this was Trump’s trump card or trap card”.
He stated that Pakistan will have to make sacrifices for Kashmir.
“It is a gross failure of our foreign policy,” he added.
Earlier, the opposition objected to a resolution presented by the government condemning India’s unilateral move to revoke Article 370 and strip occupied Kashmir of its special status.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser adjourned the session soon after the opposition objected to the resolution saying that it did not mention India’s revocation of Article 370.
Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Raza Rabbani said the main issue was not highlighted in the resolution.
In response to the opposition parties’ heckling, Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari remarked that the opposition was “there to make noise and not discuss the Kashmir issue”.
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed also highlighted the need to mention Article 370, which according to him was the most significant matter that needed to be discussed in the session.
On the demand of the NA speaker, Azam Swati amended the motion and mentioned Article 370 in the earlier tabled resolution.
‘Opposition should stand with government’
Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the opposition should stand with the government against atrocities inflicted on innocent Kashmiris by India.
Addressing the media, Firdous said that the Kashmir issue is not an isolated issue; it is a matter of concern for every Pakistani.
“Kashmir runs in the blood of every Pakistani,” she added.
The information minister also stated that the United Nations (UN) Security Council should take note of the revoking of Article 370 and should take a stand against it.
“Kashmir needs our help! The opposition should support our government and should speak up against India,” said Firdous.
The joint parliamentary session was summoned by President Dr. Arif Alvi to discuss the recent surge in unprovoked firing and shelling on the civilian population and the use of cluster bombs by Indian forces in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
India on Monday revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir and rushed through a presidential decree in a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the region.
Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament that the president had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution giving special autonomy to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
Occupied Kashmir and Ladakh will now be Union Territory with a legislature, said Indian media.
“The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state,” Shah said, ending the occupied territory’s rights to make its own laws.
Following the Indian move, the foreign secretary summoned the Indian high commissioner to the Foreign Office and conveyed a strong démarche.
The foreign secretary conveyed Pakistan’s unequivocal rejection of these illegal actions as they are in breach of international law and several UN Security Council resolutions, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).