Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday called on world leaders to intervene after India sought to strip autonomy from the disputed region of Kashmir.
“I want to make it clear that we will fight this issue on every forum, [including] at the UN Security Council,” Khan said at the national parliament in an emergency meeting, also saying Pakistan was considering a challenge in the international courts.
On Monday, the Indian government announced it was going to remove a provision from the country’s constitution that allows partial autonomy to the Indian-administered segment of the divided province of Kashmir.
Pakistan’s military chief calls the move ‘illegal’
Pakistan has denounced India’s decision as illegal and a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Islamabad said that changing Kashmir’s status could lead to an all-out conflict between the uneasy nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan.
“No one will be the winner in that case,” Khan warned India.
Prior to Khan’s speech, senior Pakistani general Qamar Bajwa said that India had violated the rights of the Kashmiri people and that the military would “go to any extent” to support Kashmiris.
Decades of turbulence
The Himalayan region of Kashmir is partly administered by India, partly by Pakistan, plus a comparatively small segment to the east controlled by China but also claimed by India. Approximately 70,000 lives have been lost in the region over the past three decades, since a violent uprising against Indian rule began in 1989.
India and Pakistan have had a tense relationship since the dissipating British Empire chose to divide the subcontinent into a secular but predominantly Hindu India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan.
The Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir segment of Kashmir is majority Muslim; many would prefer Pakistani rule, but there’s also a strong local bid for the entire region to be recognized as a state in its own right.
India has imposed a security lockdown and communications blackout since its announcement, in a bid to limit the capacity for public resistance.
Revocation of Article 370
India’s decision to strip Article 370 (conferring the special statuses of Jammu and Kashmir) in the Indian Constitution would also mean that Indians from outside the state could legally own property there.
Pakistan’s ministry said that Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory, and that “no unilateral step by the government of India can change this” nor be accepted by the Kashmiri peoples.
mvb/msh (dpa, Reuters)