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US welcomes Imran's 'unambiguous' statement warning Pakistanis against going to Kashmir for jihad

The US has welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan's "unambiguous and important" statement warning Pakistanis against going to Kashmir to wage jihad, but Washington also sought "sustained commitment" from Islamabad to rein in all terrorist groups that is critical to maintain regional stability.

PTI PTI
Washington Updated on: September 20, 2019 22:59 IST
US President Donald Trump at the White House
Image Source : AP

US President Donald Trump at the White House

The US has welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan's "unambiguous and important" statement warning Pakistanis against going to Kashmir to wage jihad, but Washington also sought "sustained commitment" from Islamabad to rein in all terrorist groups that is critical to maintain regional stability.

The statement by United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, came days ahead of Prime Minister Khan's visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he is expected to meet US President Donald Trump and fresh Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir.

"Applaud PM @ImranKhanPTI's unambiguous & important statement that militants from Pakistan who would carry out violence in Kashmir are enemies of both Kashmiris & Pakistan. We agree.

"Pakistan's sustained commitment to counter all terrorist groups is critical to reg. stability," Wells tweeted on Thursday, a day after Khan warned Pakistanis not to go to Kashmir to fight jihad, saying it will hurt the cause of the Kashmiris.

"Anyone going from here will give them (India) the pretext to blame Pakistan for cross-border terrorism and infiltrating terrorists," Khan said, adding that India has previously accused Pakistan of cross-border terrorism.

"The entire world's attention was drawn towards us, Pakistan. Now India is stuck. And the pressure is building up day by day," Khan told the media after inaugurating the Torkham Terminal at Pak-Afghan border on Wednesday.

"Now this is what I am going to say: anyone making any such attempt (to cross over into Kashmir to fight) would be an enemy of Pakistan as well as an enemy of Kashmiris," he was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

Khan has already announced that he will highlight the Kashmir issue in his address to the UNGA on September 27 after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status last month.

He said he will "forcefully present the Kashmir issue like never before" at the UN General Assembly session next week.

A planned march by some Pakistani political and religious parties towards the Line of Control with India was postponed early this week after Khan asked them to wait till his UNGA address.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5. Reacting sharply to India's decision on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

Asserting that abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making irresponsible statements and provocative anti-India rhetoric over issues internal to it.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday asserted that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is India's part and one day New Delhi expects to have "physical jurisdiction" over it.

He also asserted that there is no need to "worry" too much beyond a point about what people will say on Kashmir as it is an internal issue on which India's position has "prevailed and will prevail."

Addressing his first press conference in New Delhi after assuming the office in the Modi 2.0 government in May, Jaishankar also hit out at Pakistan, saying India has a "unique challenge" from one neighbour and it would remain a challenge until that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour and acts against cross-border terrorism. 

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