New Delhi: Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Friday launched a tirade against India for not lifting the month-long curbs in Kashmir, saying that New Delhi’s “oppression" of the people will drive them toward extremism.

Pakistan has been very critical of the restrictions imposed days ahead of the 5 August decision to revoke the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, and bifurcating the state into two union territories.

At a rally in Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Khan pledged to stand by Kashmiris and raise their cause at every available international fora, including at the UN General Assembly, where he is scheduled to speak on 27 September. “I will stand for the rights of Kashmiris as nobody did it in the past," Khan said.

Khan was on his second visit to Muzaffarabad after India revoked Article 370 of its Constitution and ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. And his speech on Friday was billed as a “policy speech" on Kashmir but it did not contain any new elements only a reiteration of promises and remarks made since India abrogated Kashmir’s special status and integrated the region more closely with the rest of the country. Pakistan condemned the move but India brushed aside Islamabad’s protests saying the abrogation was an internal matter.

Thanks to the efforts of Pakistan, the Kashmir issue has once again figured on the United Nations Security Council agenda with the UN body holding closed door consultations on the matter for the first time in 50 years, Khan said.

“The European Union, for the first time, said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved as per UN resolutions. The OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and 58 countries supported Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Council that oppression was committed in Kashmir and that curfew should be lifted in Kashmir," Khan said.

He warned that India’s actions in Kashmir will result in the rise of extremism.

“I want to warn India that extremism will rise as the people in Kashmir will stand up against oppression. When people tire of the oppression, they will decide that it is better to die than being subjected to disgrace," he said.

“If I were subjected to this kind of treatment, I would fight against it as death is better than insult," Khan said.

Khan said that the 14 February Pulwama attack in Indian-administered Kashmir was carried out by a young man tired of the oppression and the treatment being meted to the Kashmiris.

“I want to give a message to (Indian prime minister Narendra)Modi... You will never succeed despite oppression because Kashmiris are not afraid of death. So you cannot defeat them, no matter what you do," he said.

In his speech earlier, Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi challenged India to lift the curbs imposed in Kashmir to prove that the people in the region supported the move to integrate Kashmir more closely with the rest of the country.

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