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Imran Khan accuses India and Israel of moral bankruptcy over election annexation pledges

Imran Khan accuses India and Israel of moral bankruptcy over election annexation pledgesImran Khan has accused India's leaders of moral bankruptcy for trying to win votes by annexing Kashmir, after Narendra Modi pledged to remove its special autonomous status if re-elected. In outspoken remarks just days before voting begins in India's upcoming election, Mr Khan said Mr Modi was flouting a United Nations resolution and his own constitution with his manifesto pledge. Pakistan's prime minister also attacked Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, after he promised to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he is re-elected on Tuesday. “Don't their people feel a sense of outrage and wonder at how far they will go simply to win an election?” Mr Khan asked. Mr Modi earlier this week told a crowd at Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters he would scrap the autonomous status Jammu and Kashmir has had since 1954. He would also remove laws that prevent outsiders from buying property in the state. When ldrs in Israel & India show a moral bankruptcy in their readiness to annex occupied West Bank & IOK in defiance of int law, UNSC resolutions & their own Constitution for votes, don't their ppl feel a sense of outrage & wonder how far they will go simply to win an election?— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 9, 2019 Scrapping the protections would help integration with the rest of the country, the BJP has argued. However political leaders in Muslim-majority Kashmir, where Indian forces are fighting a fierce armed insurgency, have predicted the repeal would stoke further unrest. Kashmir and tensions with Pakistan have become a key election battleground in the election after a suicide bombing killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in the region in February. Both countries claim the disputed territory Kashmir, and it has been at the the heart of military tensions between the neighbours for decades. Mr Modi's manifesto pledge on Kashmir risks a backlash in the region Credit: Reuters Mr Modi's decision to launch a retaliatory air strike inside Pakistan after the bombing was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group led him to pose as a strong national security candidate. The clash is thought to have helped Mr Modi's electoral chances by distracting from his failed economic promises. But Mr Khan has accused the BJP of “whipping up war hysteria” to win the election. Pakistan's government has accused India of plotting further military action to win votes, claiming it has “reliable intelligence” that India will attack again this month. Voting in India's general election begins on Thursday but, with around 900 million people eligible to vote, the polls will be held around the country over coming weeks, and the votes will be counted on May 23.



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Pakistanis sign petition seeking Nobel Peace Prize for Imran Khan

Pakistanis sign petition seeking Nobel Peace Prize for Imran KhanMore than 300,000 people have signed online petitions calling for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to receive a Nobel Peace Prize after he freed an Indian pilot in a bid to defuse tensions with his country’s arch-rival neighbour. The capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had become the focus of renewed hostilities between the nuclear-armed rivals which have alarmed the international community. The hashtag #NobelPeaceForImranKhan began trending on Twitter on Thursday after Khan unexpectedly announced that the captured pilot would be released as a “peace gesture”.



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Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledges

Pakistan will free downed pilot to ease India stand off, Imran Khan pledgesPakistan will release a captured Indian pilot on Friday, Pakistan's prime minister told a joint session of parliament Thursday, in an overture towards New Delhi after soaring tensions fuelled fears of conflict between the nuclear-armed rivals. "As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow," Imran Khan said, a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down in a rare aerial engagement between the South Asian neighbours over the disputed region of Kashmir. The adversaries on Wednesday night and Thursday morning continued to trade fire over their disputed Kashmir frontier while Delhi demanded the return of its airman. In contrast to world leaders, who continued to call for the nuclear armed neighbours to show restraint, members of India's ruling party have called for more military action against Pakistan. The US said the risks from either of the adversaries taking more military action were “unacceptably high”. Delhi demanded the “immediate and safe return” of Wg Cdr Varthaman who was captured after his aircraft was lost during a dogfight with Pakistani jets on Wednesday. India called for the immediate and safe return of Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman Indian anger over the suicide bombing of a security convoy that killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Kashmir earlier this month has prompted the most severe showdown between the neighbours in nearly two decades. India blames the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group for the attack this week launched air strikes inside Pakistani territory. Pakistan responded with its own strikes and the said it had shot down two Indian jets, capturing Wg Cdr Abhinandan. Pakistani police say troops deployed in the disputed region of Kashmir continued trading fire with India overnight, forcing villagers living near the contested frontier to flee to safety. Police official Mohammad Tahir says cross-border fire continued into Thursday but there were no casualties. Pulwama suicide attack – Map Meanwhile Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, told a rally of supporters that his country's enemies were conspiring to create instability through terror attacks He didn't mention arch rival Pakistan but said a united India would "fight, live, work and win." The prospect of runaway escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed countries has sent alarm around the world. "The potential risks associated with further military action by either side are unacceptably high for both countries, their neighbours, and the international community," said a White House National Security Council told Bloomberg. Donald Trump, the US president, was more upbeat, saying America had been involved in attempts to persuade the neighbours to climb down. “We have, I think, reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” he said while in Hanoi. “They’ve been going at it, and we’ve been involved in trying to have them stop.”



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Pakistan will retaliate against any Indian attacks over Kashmir bombing, says Imran Khan

Pakistan will retaliate against any Indian attacks over Kashmir bombing, says Imran KhanPakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, has warned his country will retaliate against any Indian attack in the wake of last week's Kashmir suicide bombing and called instead for dialogue to calm the growing crisis. Mr Khan said he was willing to help Delhi investigate the blast which killed at least 40 paramilitary policemen last week and prompted outrage in India and calls for revenge. As tensions remained high, the senior Indian military commander in Kashmir told mothers to ensure their sons surrendered to an ongoing security crackdown or they would be killed. India says it has incontrovertible evidence that Pakistan's spy agency was behind the blast as part of its long history of supporting militant groups in the region. The attack on a security convoy was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group. Only weeks before a spring general election, the worst ever attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir has put significant pressure on India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, to strike back. Lt Gen KJS Dhillon said militants in Kashmir had to surrender or die Credit: AP In a televised address Mr Khan told India that in the event of any aggression “Pakistan will not just think about retaliating, we will retaliate. There will be no way to respond other than to retaliate." He went on: “And after that, where does the matter go? We all know that starting a war is easy. [But] starting a war may be in our hands, ending it won't be.” If Delhi had “any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani is involved, give it to us," he said.  "I guarantee you that we will take action ─ not because we are under pressure, but because they [any individuals found involved] are acting as enemies of Pakistan." An Indian soldier on guard during a curfew in Kashmir Credit: Reuters The disputed region has since the 1980s been a hotbed of insurgents wanting either independence or union with Pakistan, and heavy-handed Indian tactics have alienated many of the youth. The bombing was carried out by a 20-year-old man from a village in Indian Kashmir. His parents said he had joined a militant group after being beaten by Indian troops three years ago. Lt-Gen KJS Dhillon commander of the Indian army's Kashmir-based 15 Corps, accused Pakistan's military spy agency of "controlling" those behind the bombing. He said: "I would request all the mothers in Kashmir to please request their sons who have joined terrorism to surrender and get back to the mainstream. Otherwise anyone who has picked up the gun will be killed.”



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