Pakistan will not use nuclear weapons amid tension with India after New Delhi scrapped the special status of its part of the disputed Kashmir region, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.
“We are nuclear-armed countries”, Khan said in a speech to members of the Sikh community in the eastern city of Lahore. “If tension increases, the world may be in danger. There will never be (use of nuclear weapons) on our part first. ”
Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal later said the comments were out of context and did not represent a change in Pakistan’s nuclear policy.
“The prime minister only confirmed Pakistan’s commitment to peace and the need for the two nuclear states to show responsible behavior,” Faisal said.
Tensions remain high in Kashmir, where security forces have used tear gas against stone-throwing protesters and the area remains closed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw special rights to the Muslim-majority state on August 5.
By stripping India of Indian-controlled Kashmir from its own status, New Delhi denied the region its right to draft its own laws and allowed non-residents to buy property there. New Delhi said change would help Kashmir’s development and benefit everyone, but the move angered many people in the region and Pakistan strongly condemned it.
Khan has so far focused on a global diplomatic campaign condemning India’s actions, accusing Moody of human rights abuses and atrocities in the region.
He has also repeatedly said that any wrong adventure between two nuclear-armed states could put the world at risk.
Kashmir has long been at the center of the dispute between India and Pakistan. Each state controls parts of Kashmir while claiming the area is entirely its own. The two countries have fought three wars, two over Kashmir.
Islamabad on Monday also allowed consular access to an Indian man sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court and the International Court of Justice demanded Pakistan review the verdict in mid-July.
“Pursuant to the decision of the International Court of Justice, Pakistan allowed India to have consular access on 2 September 2019 with Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, who works as an officer in the Indian Navy“ Foreign Office statement said.
“Kulbhushan appeared under intense pressure to tell a false account to reinforce Pakistan’s untenable allegations,” a statement by the Indian External Affairs Ministry said.