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Khan: "Be prepared for the worst"

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan once again called on the United Nations to intervene in the Kashmir conflict when he first appeared in the UN general debate in New York. Otherwise, another war between the nuclear powers Pakistan and India is likely. "When things go bad, you hope for the best - but be prepared for the worst."

Indian Prime Minister never mentions Kashmir 

House arrest in Kashmir must be lifted and the status of autonomy restored. India and Pakistan have waged three wars since becoming independent from British colonial rule in 1947, two of them over the divided region of Kashmir. Both nuclear powers each control part of Kashmir, another part belongs to China. At the beginning of August, India withdrew its autonomous status from the Indian-controlled Kashmir region, suddenly increasing tensions with Pakistan.

Kashmiri men meet at night - they are afraid that the police will storm their houses (archive image)

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had spoken shortly before in the general debate but had not mentioned the Kashmir conflict, was described by Khan as "cruel". Modi put the people of Kashmir under house arrest out of "sheer arrogance". "And what will happen if the house arrest is lifted? He didn't think it through," said Khan, warning of a "bloodbath" in this case.

USA increases pressure on India

"There will be a reaction, then Pakistan will be held responsible and then two nuclear powers will face each other." In a war between India and Pakistan "anything could happen," he said. "What are we going to do? I ask myself this question and we will fight. If a country fights to the end with nuclear weapons, the consequences will go far beyond its borders."

As early as Thursday, the US called on the Indian government to relax the restrictions that had been in place for the former Kashmiri region for weeks. A US State Department representative said the Washington government hoped for "swift action" from New Delhi and the release of those arrested in Kashmir. The representative also reaffirmed the willingness of US President Donald Trump to mediate in the conflict between the neighboring nuclear powers India and Pakistan, if this is desired by both sides.

nob / jj (dpa, afp)

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Under house arrest

    A curfew has been in effect for the people in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir since August 5th. The central government imposed it because it fears an uprising against a far-reaching decision: The Hindu nationalist government has withdrawn its special status from the predominantly Muslim region and thus expanded its control over the state.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    silent post

    In addition, there is a comprehensive information lock: Internet and telephone lines are dead, you can only make short calls to some authorities with luck. Many have not heard from their relatives since the curfew began. At least a handful of local newspapers are still published, albeit under adverse conditions - they sell out quickly.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Behind bars

    Not all Kashmiris are at home, like this family in Srinagar. Police reported 300 arrests last week, some of them as "preventive measures". Rumors speak of 500 arrested, as reported by Reuters. Activists distributed a video of an 11-year-old boy reporting alleged police violence in custody - and of even younger detainees.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Tears of despair

    Jameela, the mother of the 28-year-old Koran teacher Irfan Ahmad Hurra, reported with tears that her son was arrested on August 5th. "I don't know what he's being accused of. We don't know where he is." She said he was sick and needed medication. According to his family, Hurray has been in custody in the past because he was accused of causing unrest and property damage.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    One would have to be a soldier ...

    While the Indian soldiers can move around freely, the more than four million inhabitants of the Kashmir Valley are officially not even allowed to go shopping in the city. The Indian army has been very present in the region for a long time; in the days before the announcement, at least 10,000 additional soldiers were relocated to Kashmir.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Everyday life in a state of emergency

    Photos like this give the appearance of normality despite the blockade. Most residents of the region have already experienced such curfews several times, for example in 2008, 2010 and 2013. At that time there were mass protests against the Indian government, which responded with curfews - but never as extensive as it is today: the landline telephone network is the first time switched off.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    When do the customers come?

    Actually, the provincial capital Srinagar with a million inhabitants is a lively place. But because of the curfew, it is not only these bakers who are unable to buy their goods. The residents were only allowed to go shopping for the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice last weekend. The curfew leads to supply bottlenecks, including for medicines.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Life in the "open air prison"

    In Srinagar, residents now refer to their location as an "open-air prison". In some places there are said to have been demonstrations that the police are said to have broken up with tear gas - but this has not been officially confirmed. Many Kashmiri are increasingly frustrated with "haalat" - "the situation". One man told AP that his cell phone was only useful for pelting soldiers.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Displeasure behind closed gates

    Correspondents who can speak to the local population report growing displeasure. Sentences like "we will fight against India" are used. Many people share information about the places where riots could take place. There have long been armed rebels in the region who have been fighting for free Kashmir. 256 of them were killed in 2018.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Special state

    Jammu and Kashmir is the only Indian state where the majority of the population belongs to Islam. Since its independence in 1947, India has seen itself as a multi-ethnic state. However, this self-image is shifting in the direction of a Hindu-influenced nation-state: Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist BJP dominates politics, and in May it became the strongest force again.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    New Delhi long arm

    While the Kashmiris stay at home, they fear that their region will now change and that they may become a minority: The special status abolished by the BJP government prevented investors from the rest of the country from settling in Kashmir. Days before the announcement, Hindus were brought out of the region, but in the long term they could shape the region.

  • Kashmir: Living with the curfew

    Is Kashmir Facing New Violence?

    The children standing with these soldiers only have toy guns - but there is great fear of real gun violence in the region: Pakistan, which is also making claims on the entire Kashmir region, sees a "danger to world peace". That is why the third neighboring country, the People's Republic of China, has now raised the issue in the UN Security Council at the request of Pakistan.

    Author: David Ehl