Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, wants to shift global attention away from ongoing protests against the citizenship law by conducting an operation in Pakistani-held territory.
“I have been telling the world for the past five months that Modi-RSS government, in order to divert the world attention away from Kashmir and the protests against the [citizenship] laws, will definitely conduct some sort of action in Azad Kashmir,”Khan told the crowd in the Punjab Province on Thursday, according to local media reports, referring to the part of disputed Kashmir controlled by Pakistan.
Khan did not elaborate on what kind of “action” India may undertake in Pakistani-held areas of Kashmir. Cross-border shelling occurred along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday, claiming victims on both sides. India and Pakistan accused each other of firing the first shot.
The PM has been a vocal critic of the Indian government’s decision to revoke the region’s longstanding autonomy in August and back the recently adopted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which sparked protests and riots across the nation.
Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been arguing that reorganizing Kashmir will help to combat terrorism and boost the region’s economy as it becomes more integrated into India proper.
As for the CAA, the law makes it easier to acquire citizenship for the six religious minorities arriving from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The action signifies that the people of India have “decided to accept the minorities who have faced humiliation” in these three states, Modi said at a rally on Wednesday.
The government stressed that the law is in no way detrimental to Muslims and denied the accusations of CAA being discriminatory against them, as Muslims can still get citizenship under existing laws.
Modi also came out strongly against violent protesters and rioters. “People do have rights, but they are also duty-bound to protect public property, which is there for future generations. Whatever was torched – was it not for their children to use?” he said.