UNITED NATIONS – Pakistan’s prime minister urged the international community Friday to intervene in Indian-controlled Kashmir and prevent a war between nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan.
“What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath,” Imran Khan told the U.N. General Assembly of the situation in Kashmir, which has been under an India-imposed curfew and communications blackout since August 5.
That is when India revoked Article 370 of its constitution, ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The security crackdown on the Muslim-majority territory has led to a dangerous escalation between the neighbors.
Khan warned that Kashmiris will not accept their new fate, potentially drawing the neighbors into war.
“If this goes wrong, you hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst,” Khan said in an at times impassioned hour-long address to the assembly.
He said he is not threatening a war, but the world must take seriously that it could be a possibility if Pakistan is forced to either “surrender” or “fight for freedom.”
Speaking a short time before his Pakistani counterpart, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no mention of the situation in Kashmir, but he did speak about terrorism.
“It is absolutely imperative, that the world unites against terrorism, and that the world stands as one against terrorism,” Modi told the assembly.
India has taken the stance that Kashmir is a bilateral issue to be resolved with Pakistan, but has resisted engaging in any talks.
Outside the United Nations, large dueling protests supporting and opposing India’s action in Kashmir took place Friday.
Modi’s U.N. appearance is his first since his government won a second term in May.
“This year, the world’s biggest election took place. In the world’s biggest democracy, the highest ever number of voters voted my government into power for a second term with an even stronger mandate than before,” he said.
Khan said the United Nations is the guarantor of Kashmir’s self-determination through its numerous Security Council resolutions and it must not give in to India. He demanded that India lift the curfew and release all political prisoners.
“And then the world community must give the people of Kashmir their right of self-determination,” he said to more applause.
Kashmir has been a regional flashpoint for decades. India and Pakistan have fought several wars over the majority-Muslim territory since they both gained independence from Britain in 1947.
Leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have urged the two nations to open a dialogue.