Pakistan’s leader, lamenting what he said was the world’s indifference to civilian suffering in Kashmir, on Wednesday condemned India’s military clampdown there and said he would appeal to the United Nations for help.
“They do not understand that this can go horribly wrong,” the Pakistani leader, Prime Minister Imran Khan, said.
In August, the Indian government revoked the longstanding autonomy of the contested border region and arrested thousands of Kashmiris. It cut off phone and internet service to millions of people and imposed a curfew.
The move raised tensions between India and Pakistan, which have long been at odds over the restive region. A million troops have squared off along the disputed border, one of Asia’s tensest flash points and the source of two previous wars between the two countries.
On Wednesday, meeting with editors of The New York Times, Mr. Khan said he would ask the United Nations to intervene when he addressed the General Assembly on Friday.
“If the U.N. doesn’t speak about it, who is going to speak about it?” Mr. Khan said.
In revoking a 70-year-old legal provision that had given autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and buttressing its military presence there, Indian officials said the goal was to establish peace and prosperity.
Pakistan has a history of funding separatist militants in Kashmir. But the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, rose to power with an unvarnished appeal to Hindu nationalists, who have long wanted access and sway in Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Over the past two months, Indian forces have rounded up at least 2,000 Kashmiris, including elected representatives, local officials say.
Mr. Khan said India was behaving irrationally — and against its own longer-term interests.
“Arrogance,” he said, “stops people from being rational.”
Mr. Khan said he would ask the United Nations to step in, warning that it was too risky to allow tensions to escalate between India and Pakistan, both of which have nuclear weapons.
“This is the U.N.’s job,” he said, adding: “They have to intervene, send observers there.”
That may be a long shot.
“I can’t imagine India agreeing to it, and the U.N. isn’t going to intervene over India’s objections,” said Laurel Miller, director of the Asia Program at the International Crisis Group.
The Kashmiris are not the only Muslim group to be oppressed as the world looks away. The Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uighurs in China have also been brutalized.
But in Kashmir, part of the problem, Ms. Miller said, may not be the message but the messenger.
“There is a history, and an existing reality, of Pakistani tolerance of and support for militant groups,” she said.
Ms. Miller, like Mr. Khan, said some nations might be reluctant to press the issue because they don’t want to jeopardize their relationship with India, a major economic market.
That could change, she said, if widespread violence breaks out in Kashmir.
Mr. Khan said he feared that was exactly what would happen.
“This is very dangerous,” he said, “because people don’t realize where it’s headed. It’s going to be a massacre, the moment they lift the curfew.”
The Pakistani leader said he was not optimistic that he would accomplish anything in his speech to the United Nations, at least not in the near term.
“But at least the world will be aware,” he said. “Because I fear an impending genocide.”