Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed yesterday the time had come to teach Delhi a lesson and promised to “fight until the end” against any Indian aggression in Kashmir.
The warning represented a dramatic escalation in rhetoric after Islamabad said last week that they had ruled out a “military option” over the Kashmir dispute.
The remarks come as tensions skyrocketed between the nuclear-armed rivals following India’s surprising move to revoke the autonomy of its portion of Kashmir last week.
“The Pakistani army has solid information that they (India) are planning to do something in Pakistani Kashmir, and they are ready and will give a solid response,” Khan said during a televised speech in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-
“We have decided that if India commits any type of violation we will fight until the end,” Khan added in the speech marking the country’s Independence Day.
“The time has arrived to teach you a lesson.”
The head of the Pakistani military also added that the country’s security forces were “fully ready to perform its part in line with our national duty for Kashmir cause”, according to a tweet from the army’s spokesperson.
Khan and the military’s comments followed other fiery speeches in the territory’s parliament, with the prime minister of Pakistani Kashmir at one point begging for permission to cross the de-facto border dividing the territory and then later bragging about opening fire on Indian troops in the past.
The heated rhetoric follows days of rising hostilities from Islamabad.
Following New Delhi’s move to abolish Indian-administered Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan launched a diplomatic offensive aimed at reversing the order and formally asked the United Nations Security Council late Tuesday to hold an emergency session to address India’s “illegal actions”.
Pakistan has also expelled the Indian ambassador, halted bilateral trade and suspended cross-border transport services.
However, analysts said the actions were unlikely to move New Delhi.
The Indian part of Kashmir has been under lockdown for over a week with tens of thousands of troop reinforcements deployed to the main city of Srinagar and other towns and villages.
A curfew has also been enforced across the region and phone and Internet lines cut to quell potential unrest.
Earlier this week Khan lambasted the international community for failing to challenge India and said turning a blind eye to the spread of Indian Hindu nationalism was the same as appeasing Hitler – a comparison he again made yesterday.
As tensions simmered with India, Pakistan moved ahead with independence celebrations which began at the stroke of midnight with firework shows lighting up the skies in major cities, where residents jammed the streets waving the national flag from their cars and
In August 1947 the British Raj was dismantled with the subcontinent divided into two independent states – Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Earlier this year they came close to all-out conflict yet again, after a militant attack in Indian-held Kashmir in February was claimed by a group based in Pakistan, igniting tit-for-tat air strikes.