As Thousands Protest Outside UN, Khan Gives Global Leaders Assembly Keyhole View of a Padlocked Kashmir
“It’s the final warning from Pakistan to the UN for not fulfilling its promise of plebiscite before Kashmiris rise up against India” -Nuclear & Security Analyst Dr. Ali
DESPARDES — Thousands protested outside (reports CNN)– several blocks away from the United Nations diplomatic VIP entrance in New York city, as Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Narendra Modi addressed the world Friday morning at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Muslims, Christians and Sikhs raised signs in support of Kashmiris, the residents of Muslim-majority region claimed by Pakistan and India since 1947– at least two wars they have fought over the dispute since partitioning of the subcontinent.
On August 5, Modi’s government stripped autonomy from India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, sent in tens of thousands of additional troops, and imposed a strict communications blackout and curfew on citizens living there. Friday was 55th day of the lockdown in the occupied Himalayan valley. Modi did not mention Kashmir in his speech.
About an hour later, Khan responded with passion, and denounced India’s crackdown in Kashmir as a step toward an eventual “blood bath.” Khan told the great hall that Kashmiris under state pressure could end up radicalized.
“I picture myself… I’m in Kashmir, I’ve been locked up for 55 days, I’ve heard about rapes, Indian army going into homes, soldiers. Would I want to live this humiliation? Would I want to live like that? I would pick up a gun. You’re forcing people into radicalization. When people lose the will to live, what is there to live for?” asked Khan.
He also warned that India’s actions in Kashmir could provoke nuclear war between the two countries and called on the UN to intervene.
Nuclear and security analyst Dr. Syed Mohammad Ali tweeted that the UN has failed the Kashmiris. On being asked to comment on Khan’s speech, Dr. Ali told DesPardes, “It’s the final warning from Pakistan to the UN for not fulfilling its promise of plebiscite before Kashmiris rise up against India”.
Renowned Kashmiri Hurriyet leader Syed Ali Geelani thanked PM Khan for raising the Kashmir situation at the UNGA and vowing to fight against India’s annexation of the locked-down valley.
The United States wants New Delhi to quickly ease restrictions imposed in the occupied valley, a senior official said on Thursday, declaring President Trump’s willingness to mediate to ease tensions between India and Pakistan over the territory.
“We hope to see rapid action – the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained,” Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia, told reporters.
“The United States is concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir,” Wells said.
“Now it is the responsibility of the world community to come forward and settle the Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of Kashmiris,” said AJK President Masood Khan.
The lockdown continues amid disturbing silence on the situation in occupied Kashmir, observers say. That PM Modi did not say a word on the uncomfortable issue is a tactic that Syed Akbaruddin, India’s permanent representative to the UN, described at a press conference earlier this week as “soaring high”. So did the report below:
Salman Masood, Pakistan correspondent for The New York Times, termed Khan’s no-holds-barred speech “impassioned and forceful. Some parts of it would raise some eyebrows in the West. He has reminded U.N to fulfill its Kashmir pledge…”