Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned of “consequences” if his nuclear-armed country were to end up losing a conventional war to its similarly nuclear-armed neighbour India.
Pakistan’s prime minister discussed his government’s foreign and domestic policies in an interview with Al Jazeera on 14 September.
When asked if Pakistan would hit India with nuclear weapons in case of a large-scale conflict, Khan first ruled out his country initiating the attack.
“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist. I am anti-war,” he said.
However, Khan added that when two nuclear-armed states “fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up in a nuclear war.”
“If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight ‘til death for your freedom – I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom,” said Pakistan’s PM.
Khan has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that foreign powers, along with the UN, need to intervene in the standoff between India and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir.
“So that’s why we have approached the United Nations, we are approaching every international forum, that they must act right now because this is a potential disaster that would go way beyond the Indian subcontinent,” said Khan.
Earlier in September, appearing at the International Sikh Convention in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, Khan vowed not to use nuclear weapons first against India.
His spokesperson subsequently insisted the words were “taken out of context,” and there is “no change” in Pakistan’s nuclear stance which reportedly does not rule out a first strike against overwhelming conventional force.