Prime Minister Imran Khan said New Delhi enjoys the same kind of impunity over its attempts to change the demographic system of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) that Israel has in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In an interview with the Middle East Eye (MEE) in Islamabad, the premier slammed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was copying Israel’s playbook by allowing settlers to acquire land in IIOJK.
Terming the IIOJK an open prison, he said India violated the Geneva Convention by changing the Indian constitution to end Kashmiri autonomy.
In August 2019, Modi sent tens of thousands of additional troops into IIOJK, imposed a curfew and abolished Article 370 of the Indian constitution that guaranteed limited autonomy to Kashmir for more than 70 years.
United Nations human rights experts had also expressed concern over New Delhi’s decision. Kashmiris feared Modi was to change the demographic of the region by allowing people from outside the valley to buy land.
India had not been challenged more forcefully on the world stage as its western allies saw it as a bulwark against China, PM told MEE.
PM Imran said India also benefited from a deepening strategic and military relationship with Israel, forged by Modi’s visit to the country in 2017, and by then-Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s return visit to India in 2018.
“[Israel has] built such a strong security apparatus and [they] just crush anything. They send people who kill and assassinate, and they have total immunity,” PM said.
“Whatever the UN general assembly says, they have complete confidence in the veto the US has in the Security Council. So they get away with anything. And I feel that India feels [it has immunity] because they are being used… as a bulwark against China.”
When asked how volatile the current situation was? PM replied, “If you look at the flashpoints, probably the nuclear flashpoint right now in the world is Pakistan-India because nowhere else is there a situation where there are two nuclear-armed countries who have had three wars before they were nuclear-armed.”
“We have not had a war since then because of the deterrent,” he added.
In the early months of PM Imran’s premiership in 2019, a misadventure by Indian warplanes inside Pakistan received a powerful retaliatory attack by the Pakistani air force that pushed the two countries to the brink of almost another war.
Recalling the ‘nervous and dangerous time’, PM said, “Once two nuclear-armed countries get into the situation as we did, it can go anywhere.”
‘US must engage with Taliban or face chaos’
The US has to “pull itself together” and deliver an aid package to Afghanistan or face the collapse of a country which would become a haven for Islamic State militants, PM told MEE while commenting on the current situation in Afghanistan.
PM said it was vital to Pakistan that Washington steps up to the challenge because his country, where tens of thousands of people have died in conflict linked to the US-led “war on terror”, would once more pay a heavy price.
“It’s a critical time, and the US has to pull itself together because people in the United States are in a state of shock,” the premier said categorically.