Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has warned of "consequences" if nuclear-armed Pakistan ends up losing a conventional war to its nuclear-armed neighbor India.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday (Sept 14), Imran Khan said he "absolutely" believes war with India could be a possibility.
"Eight million Muslims in Kashmir are under siege for almost now six weeks. And why this can become a flashpoint between India and Pakistan is because what we already know India is trying to do is divert attention from their illegal annexation and their impending genocide on Kashmir," he said adding: "They are taking the attention away by blaming Pakistan for terrorism."
"Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve any problems," he said but, he added: "When two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable."
"If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight 'til death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom. So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.
"So that's why we have approached the United Nations, we are approaching every international forum, that they must act right now because this is a potential disaster that would go way beyond the Indian subcontinent."
India and Pakistan have fought three major conventional wars since 1947, along with several smaller border skirmishes. Most of the clashes are centered around the Kashmir region, where cross-border shelling frequently takes place along the Line of Control (LoC).
The neighbors edged close to a full-blown war in February. New Delhi sent warplanes into Pakistan to bomb what it said were camps of insurgent group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which allegedly had carried out numerous attacks on Indian soil. Islamabad accused India of violating its sovereignty. The hostilities ultimately led to intense shelling from both sides and open aerial combat.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of its constitution to withdraw the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and expelled the Indian high commissioner in protest. India on its part has said the revocation of the special status to Kashmir is an internal matter.
Kashmir has seen 20 daily anti-India protests despite crackdown
Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported Saturday.
Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India mostly in the largest city Srinagar have been constant, the source told the AFP late Saturday.
Altogether there have been 722 protests since Aug. 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.
Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.