Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned about the renewed tensions over Indian-administered Kashmir spiralling out of control, and said that no rational human being can talk of nuclear war.
Comparing the Pakistan-India nuclear stand-off to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, in an interview with RT, Khan said that the South Asian neighbours are being pitted against each over the disputed region.
Urging the world community to intervene in Indian-administered Kashmir, the prime minister said the situation on the ground remains “explosive” and may escalate way beyond the subcontinent.
He added that any further escalation between the two countries may lead to unimaginable fallout.
Vowing to “knock on every door” to get the issue of Indian-administered Kashmir on the forefront of the global agenda, Khan said that so far he feels underwhelmed by the world community’s response, after having “expected the world to react much more than it has”.
“This is the time to act. Inaction is not an option,” he stressed, suggesting that some may be dismayed by the risk of damaging their trade ties with India.
The prime minister lamented that, to some, the markets and “material gains” are “much more important than human beings”.
Speaking about the relationship with Moscow, Khan said that he hopes to change Pakistan’s relations with Russia.
“[Russian] President Vladimir Putin is a big voice in the world and the current occupied Kashmir crisis could be resolved if the big players – Russia, the US, and China – “get together” to do it,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has estimated that the military curfew and communications blackout in Indian-administered Kashmir had cost businesses in the valley a whopping Rs39bn that may never be recovered.
According to a report by the Kashmir Media Service, KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said in a media interview in Srinagar that on average, the Indian-administered valley was losing at least Rs1-2bn daily due to the military curfew imposed by New Delhi.
The claims lay bare statements made by Indian officials in the past few weeks, where the decision to revoke the constitutional autonomy of the valley and impose a curfew in the area was “white-washed” with promises of investment and development in the region.
In the statement made by Ahmad, it was reported that the tourism industry in the valley was the hit hardest by the clampdown, and was losing millions of rupees daily.
According to Ahmad, the tourism industry contributed Rs1-2bn to the Indian economy annually.
The snapping of cellular communication and Internet access has complicated the situation in the area considerably, where cellphones determined the functioning of most of the businesses, particularly information technology, courier services, and tourism.
Tanveer Ahmad, who owns a travel agency in Sonawar, said that losses incurred by tour operators, hoteliers and houseboat owners could increase as the curbs on Internet access continues in the valley.
“Our business is completely dependent on the Internet. If this Internet gag continues, our losses may go up. For instance, if I incurred a Rs2mn loss this month, it may cross Rs5mn in another month,” he pointed out.
Empty shikaras (houseboats) and deserted hotels present a grim picture of the tourism sector.
Hundreds of the youth have lost their jobs as many of the hotels in the valley have shut in absence of tourists.
The horticulture sector, the biggest economy and employment generating sector of Kashmir, is suffering too.
An official from the Transport Department told Kashmir Media Service that at least 6,000 commercial vehicles had not plied on roads for the last 39 days.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had revoked the constitutional autonomy of Indian-administered Kashmir on August 5 and imposed a military curfew in the valley imprisoning thousands of Kashmiris.
The United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Pakistan are now ramping up pressure on India to ease the clampdown in the valley and allow independent reporters to verify widespread allegations of human rights violations in the area by Indian security forces.
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