WASHINGTON—Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected next month to push the United Nations to pay more attention to India’s actions in Kashmir, according to the Pakistan ambassador to Washington, as the nation seeks to jump-start international attention to New Delhi’s clampdown in the disputed territory.
Pakistan already has warned that the situation in Kashmir could ignite a war with India, and highlighted that both countries are nuclear armed.
“The prime minister will be most likely coming to the General Assembly session and participating in the General Debate,” said Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s U.S. ambassador, in an interview. “That will be an opportunity for us to highlight the issue and the gravity of the situation.”
Pakistani officials have been seeking to highlight India’s recent actions that put the Muslim-majority Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir under lockdown. The United Nations General Assembly is scheduled for late September.
India says the move—which has involved the arrest or confinement of hundreds of local political leaders, activists, businessmen, students and teachers as well as the revocation of Kashmir’s special semiautonomous status—was an internal one, designed to prevent the area from fueling anti-India sentiments and being used as a weapon against India by Pakistan, as well as opening it up for investment.
The move was condemned by human-rights groups world-wide and the Kashmir situationwas discussed at a recent closed-door session of the U.N. Security Council though no joint statement on conclusions was issued afterward.
But there has been little groundswell of opprobrium from influential countries, many of which view the long-simmering dispute over Kashmir as a bilateral issue to be worked out between the two South Asian countries. President Trump has offered to seek to mediate but the offer hasn’t been accepted by India.
“The international community actually should take this seriously and should look at it closely for whatever is going on there, because it’s a serious humanitarian challenge, and secondly it poses a serious threat to peace and security,” Ambassador Khan said. “And we of course will not be the first ones to initiate anything, but I think if in any way our sovereignty is challenged or threatened Pakistan certainly would respond in a befitting way.”
The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought three major wars there since India’s independence from the U.K. in 1947. In February this year, a brief skirmish broke out between India and Pakistan that saw them trade airstrikes and duel in aerial dogfights that led to the downing of an Indian fighter plane.