Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday warned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane against continuing the anti-Pakistan war rhetoric ramped up recently by India.
Delivering an impassioned speech in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) city of Mirpur where a rally to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day was held, the prime minister referred to recent comments by Modi where he had claimed the Indian forces “will not take more than seven to 10 days to make Pakistan bite the dust”.
“You need to brush up on history. It seems your degree was fake,” said the prime minister. He said that leaders who had shown such pride had always been defeated in the past, giving examples of the failure of Hitler’s and Napolean’s forces to permeate Russia, of US forces to win the Afghan war and to conquer Vietnam.
“Narendra Modi, the statement you gave on this country, and the Indian army chief […] this is my message to you both […] you have already made a mistake on August 5. Just remember, every citizen of this 200 million-strong nation, down to the last child, will fight to their final breath.
“We will show you how we can fight. […] our army is well recognised, battle-hardened. Our people are God-fearing […] none of us fear death.
“If you are under the false impression that you will take any action against Pakistan to strengthen your Hindu voter base, it will be the last mistake you make,” said the premier in a grave warning to his Indian counterpart.
In January, the Indian army chief had said that the Indian army will move to claim AJK if it is given orders in this regard by the parliament.
His statement was dismissed by the Pakistan Army’s media wing as “routine rhetoric for domestic audiences to get out of ongoing internal turmoil”.
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In his address today, the premier said that whenever a leader bases his campaign on hatred against a group of people and when that card is used to gain votes, the election is won but then there is nothing but destruction waiting ahead.
“When he won the election, he decided to do in Kashmir what the RSS manifesto was. He thought he would imprison Kashmiris, but what happened?
“He thought he would end the issue of Kashmir altogether but the way the issue has been internationalised, there is talk of Kashmir where it was never before discussed,” said the prime minister.
He said the United Nations Security Council alone had debated the issue thrice already.
The premier reminded Kashmiris that Pakistan will continue to stand by them and will continue to fight alongside them.
“Kashmiris who are going through a hard time, all our prayers with you. We pray you are granted patience.
“But I say, I had promised to be your ambassador. I stand before you in that capacity today, not as the prime minister of Pakistan.”
Rally participants listening to the premier’s address in Mirpur on Thursday. — Photo courtesy PM Office Twitter
He said he had raised the issue of Kashmir with every single foreign leader he had met since August 5.
“I spoke to Trump thrice, spoke to British premier Boris Johnson, spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel twice and explained what is happening in Kashmir.
“I spoke to the Russian foreign minister in New York, spoke to [French President] Macron for half an hour and spoke in great detail with Canada’s [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau,” said the premier, as he assured Kashmiris he will continue their struggle on their behalf.
He said the world now knows the situation in Kashmir. “This is the reason why the RSS plan to spill the blood of Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir, to terrorise them, and to instil so much fear in their hearts that they accept what has been done in Kashmir, has failed.”
“The entire world now demands an end to this oppression”.
An aerial view of the rally. — Photo courtesy PM Office Twitter
The premier expressed confidence that good times lie ahead for Kashmir and that Modi will not be able to carry on with his nefarious designs for much longer.
“The day the curfew is lifted, a sea of people will flow and there will be only one voice: Freedom!
“InshaAllah then, Modi will not have any more cards to play. Then, Kashmiris who fought bravely in the Independence movement and 30 years before where 100,000 Kashmiris laid down their lives, will see relief. God will not only make things easy but grant you freedom,” said the prime minister.
Qureshi’s challenge to Modi
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a fiery address challenged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find even one Kashmiri who accepts his August 5 decision to scrap the region of its special autonomy.
“Narendra Modi, if you think yourself democratic, bring forward one legitimate Kashmiri in Srinagar who accepts your August 5 decision,” said Qureshi.
He then warned Modi to beware of what the Kashmiris “will then do to him”.
“These are self-respecting, honourable people. Do you think they will bend down on their knees in the face of your curfew, your oppression?”
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a Kashmir Solidarity rally in Mirpur on Thursday.
The foreign minister said that he sees before him the flags of Pakistan and of Kashmir and called on the Mirpur residents to wave the Pakistan flag.
“Wave it and let [Modi] know Pakistan’s flag is being waved in Mirpur. This is a reflection of the fact that every city of Pakistan and every citizen and every institution and every political party was with Kashmiris yesterday, is with them today and will always be.
“The other flag I see before me is that of Kashmir. Wave this one too and let Narendra Modi know that you may, in an illegal move, break the United Nations conventions and make an attempt to erase the Kashmiri identity […] but can a line on a map divide our hearts?
“If our hearts cannot be divided, then Kashmiris will never be separated.”
He said history will bear witness and the spilled blood of Kashmiris will stand witness to the fact that Kashmiris “know nothing of bowing down”.
“Their character, their history stands witness, they can be wiped out, but will never bow down before your government,” said the foreign minister, addressing Modi.