Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of new suicide bombings in the disputed territory of Kashmir region after the Indian government rescinded the region's autonomy.
Khan made the remarks during a speech to the parliament, urging the world to notice India’s reckless moves to change the status of disputed Kashmir, which is split between the two countries, and stressing that it will lead to violence.
“With an approach of this nature, incidents like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen,” Khan said, referring to the February terror attack that killed 40 paramilitary police in Pulwama.
He expressed fears that Kashmiri people, angered over India’s decision to strip the region of its special status, may target Indian security forces, an attack New Delhi may pin on Pakistan.
The Indian government blamed Pakistan for the terror attack in February, bringing the two countries to the brink of war after India retaliated by striking Pakistani targets. Tensions eventually eased following a few goodwill gestures, including a release of a captured Indian pilot, and international reaction.
But the Pakistani leader said this time, if New Delhi decides to strike targets inside his country, such hostility would likely lead to war.
Pakistan’s army chief, meanwhile, said the military will “go to any extent” to support Kashmiris and that Pakistan's regional security policy “stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” the Telegraph reported.
Khan’s speech came after India’s downgraded the governance of the Indian-administered portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as an indefinite security lockdown continued in the disputed Himalayan region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government submitted the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill for a vote by India’s lower house of Parliament, a bill that is expected to pass easily.
Residents reportedly had their phone and internet access cut off, while thousands of troops were deployed to the restive region amid fears the government’s steps could spark unrest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.