Pakistan could lose in a conventional war with India, says Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has continued with his shrill pitch on Kashmir saying that a nuclear war with India is a possibility after New Delhi revoked the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Imran Khan, in an interview with Al Jazeera, said that Pakistan could lose in a conventional war with India, and then “there could be consequences”. He insisted that Islamabad will never start a nuclear war and he is “anti-war.”

“But I am clear that when two nuclear armed countries fight a conventional war, there is every possibility of it ending in a nuclear war. If I say Pakistan, God forbid, and in a conventional war, and we are losing, and if a country is stuck between two choices, either you surrender or fight to the death for your freedom. I know Pakistan will fight to the death for freedom, when a nuclear armed country fights to the death, there are consequences,” Imran Khan said.

Khan has been upping the rhetoric against India since the NDA government nullified Article 30 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

On Friday, at a rally in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he had said that the situation in Kashmir will drive more Muslims towards extremism and people “will rise against India”. He also said that if the Kashmir issue is not resolved by the international community it could “impact world trade”.

India maintains that the changes in Kashmir are an internal matter and said Pakistan has no locus standi.

Last week, Pakistan had used the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session to target India and asked the UN body to ensure an end to restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi hit back saying that the Pakistani leadership was trying to promote cross-border terrorism.

At the UNHRC session, Paksitan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had accused India of turning Kashmir into the planet’s largest prison. New Delhi said the Pakistan foreign minister’s statement was a “fabricated narrative from the epicentre of global terrorism”.

On US President Donald Trump’s offer to intervene on the Kashmir issue, Imran Khan said “if he (Trump) intervenes, seriously intervenes, it is one way you can guarantee some sort of resolution.”

Trump had offered mediation on Kashmir during Imran Khan’s White House visit in July. The US president even said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to do so, the claim was swiftly denied by India. New Delhi said that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved bilaterally, and after Pakistan stops supporting terrorism.

After a meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz, Trump said the PM feels he has the situation under control. Last week, Trump had said he was willing to help” India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue if “they want”. A significant change in the usage of words, away from mediate” or “intervene. “I get along well with both countries very well. I’m willing to help if they want,” Trump said.