Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s action to scrap the special status of J&K was a “strategic blunder” based on four miscalculations.
Addressing a special session of the legislative assembly of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in Muzaffarabad on the first anniversary of India’s action, Khan said the first mistaken assumption was to expand his Hindu vote base by revoking Kashmir’s status. The second assumption, he said, was that Pakistan would remain quiet “because we were trying to become friends with them”. The third assumption was the world would stay silent because other countries want to use India to counter China, he added. The fourth miscalculation, he said, was that India thought it would be able to crush the Kashmiris by posting hundreds of thousands of troops in the Kashmir Valley and then change the region’s demography. All these assumptions had proved wrong, Khan said.
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side to Khan’s comments, which came a day after Islamabad issued a new political map that depicted the Indian union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and parts of Gujarat state as Pakistani territories.
India had dismissed the map as an “exercise in political absurdity” with no legal backing.
Khan told his audience that his government had reacted strongly to India’s actions last year. “The UN discussed the Kashmir issue thrice during the last year for the first time since 1965. It also published two reports on human rights abuses in…Kashmir,” he said.He said he personally spoke to world leaders about the issue. “I explained to [US President Donald] Trump twice how Kashmir was a flashpoint. I talked to [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson, [French President Emmanuel] Macron, explained to them, made them understand,” he said.
“Today, Modi is exposed in front of the world, the biggest result of which is that people are [now] looking towards [the situation in] Kashmir. India is now in a blind alley and there’s no way out from this situation,” he said.
Explaining the reasoning behind the new map of Pakistan, Khan said he wanted to show to the world Kashmir is a disputed area. “We have said at every forum the Kashmir issue should be resolved according to resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and we have written this on the map as well,” he said.
He announced his government will confer its highest civilian award, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, on Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign ministry clarified that the new map reaffirmed the country’s commitment to finding a solution to the Kashmir through “the realization of the Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite” under the UN.