Imran Khan says there is ‘every possibility’ that India and Pakistan could end up in a nuclear war as the pair square off over the disputed Kashmir region.
The Pakistani prime minister insisted that he would never start a war, but added that if war broke out his countrymen would never accept surrender to India either.
‘When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences,’ he said.
Imran Khan has warned there is ‘every possibility’ that Pakistan could end up fighting a nuclear war with India over the Kashmir region
Khan accused India of preparing for ‘genocide’ in the Kashmir region, after revoking its autonomous powers last month (pictured, a protest in Pakistan in support of Kashmir)
Khan insisted that Pakistan would never start a war with India, but it wouldn’t allow itself to be defeated either – even if that means using nuclear arms (pictured, protesters in Pakistan)
Khan spoke out after India’s Hindu-nationalist government revoked autonomy over the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, sparking outrage.
India has placed the region on lockdown, flooding it with armed police and paramilitaries, and cutting off internet and phone services.
Khan told Al-Jazeera that he believes India is preparing for genocide in the region, which he said would ‘absolutely’ lead to a war between the neighbours.
The two countries have already fought four wars over Kashmir – in 1947, 1965, 1971 and most recently in 1999, when both states were nuclear-armed.
Khan added: ‘Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve any problems.
‘But when two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable.
‘If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight ’til death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom.
India placed Kashmir on lockdown in August after it revoked autonomy over the region, before flooding the area with armed security to head-off protests (pictured, a man with pellet wounds after a demonstration in Srinagar, in Kashmir)
A Kashmiri boy sits injured after he was hurt in clashes with Indian security forces in Kashmir
‘So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.’
Indian forces in Kashmir have been accused of carrying out a campaign of terror against the local population since autonomy was revoked on August 5, using violence and torture to intimidate the population into compliance.
Farooq Abdullah, former leader of Kashmir who has been under house arrest since August 5, was on Monday charged under controversial public order laws.
Campaigners say the law, which allows detention of up to two years with no evidence or trial, has been used to arbitrarily detain some 20,00 Kashmirirs.
New Delhi says its Kashmir lockdown is to prevent ‘terrorists’ backed by Islamabad from stirring up trouble.
India’s national security advisor has denied that the military has committed any atrocities, a statement echoed by Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman in Kashmir.
‘All counter-terrorist operations are conducted in the most professional and people-friendly manner. Allegations of manhandling levelled against the army are completely baseless,’ Kalia told AFP.
Khan also accused Indian security forces (pictured) of preparing for ‘genocide’ in Kashmir, saying he would ‘absolutely’ go to war to prevent it