The latest dispute between the two countries is related to a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan calling for jihad (holy war) for the Kashmiris, on return from New York after attending the UN General Assembly Session.
“Whether or not the world stands with the Kashmiris, Pakistan will stand with them. This is a holy war (jihad). We are with them (Kashmiris) because we want to please the Almighty (Allah),” said Khan.
New Delhi had condemned the “provocative and irresponsible” language used by Khan and said it showed his ignorance in conducting “international relations”. The Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman said he does not deserve to occupy the post of Prime Minister.
Pakistan has rejected the comments and said, “Exposing India’s egregious behaviour and state-terrorism in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, is part of our international obligation and our moral responsibility to the Kashmiri victims of Indian repression.”
“If India feels provoked, it is only because India is unwilling to face the truth about its indefensible actions that are driven by the toxic mix of extremist ideology and hegemonic ambitions,” said a statement by Pakistan Foreign Affairs spokesman on Saturday (05 October).
Pakistan claims to be a stakeholder in Kashmir and was incensed at India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special quasi-autonomous status. Islamabad had also declared it would go to any extent to protect the interests of the people of Indian-administered Kashmir against what it called “repression” by Indian armed forces.
Islamabad and New Delhi have been at loggerheads over Kashmir since they attained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both countries rule part of Kashmir while claiming the entire territory. They have also fought three wars since independence; two were over Kashmir.