Prime Minister Imran Khan said he would no longer seek a dialogue with India and alarmed that a threat of a military escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbours was rising.
In an interview with The New York Times a day after he had a talk with President Donald Trump on the phone, the premier complained about what he described as repeated rebuffs from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his appeals for communication, both before and after the August 5 move in occupied Kashmir.
“There is no point in talking to them. I mean, I have done all the talking. Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement,” Imran said during the interview.
“There is nothing more that we can do.”
Earlier this month, India revoked Kashmir’s special status and deployed thousands of troops to quell any possible unrest, cutting nearly all communications in the valley.
Indian soldiers and police officers have been accused of using excessive force on Kashmiris. They have detained the local political leadership, drawing strong criticism from rights groups and the United Nations.
New Delhi has described its new policy on Kashmir as a legal and internal matter. It claims the deployment of armed forces was precautionary and temporary.
“The most important thing is that eight million people’s lives are at risk. We are all worried that there is ethnic cleansing and genocide about to happen,” added PM Imran.
The premier has told Trump of a “potentially very explosive situation” between Pakistan and India.
In July this year, PM Imran visited Washington and met with Trump, who said he would be willing to mediate the conflict. His offer was welcomed by the premier but has not been accepted by India.
Trump reiterated his offer on Tuesday and said, “I’ll do the best I can to mediate or do something.”
PM Imran expressed concern India might undertake a deceptive “false-flag operation” in Kashmir to try to justify military action against Pakistan. And Pakistan, he said, would be forced to respond.
“And then you are looking at two nuclear-armed countries eyeball to eyeball, and anything can happen,” he said.
“My worry is that this can escalate and for two nuclear-armed countries, it should be alarming for the world what we are facing now.”
India’s nuclear weapons policy is known as “no first use,” meaning the country will not initiate the use of its arsenal in any conflict.
But recently, India’s defence minister, Rajnath Singh said on Twitter that future use of its arsenal “depends on the circumstances.”
Shortly after taking office in August last year, PM Imran reached out to India in an attempt to revive talks between the countries on a wide range of issues, including Kashmir. But Indian officials rejected his efforts with a response that they will negotiate only after Pakistan cuts ties to militant groups. Islamabad denies it has links to such groups.
PM Imran repeatedly insisted during the interview that Modi intended to carry out a genocide of Kashmiri Muslims and has demanded that United Nations peacekeepers and observers be allowed in the occupied valley.