Khan, who was in Kashmir to mark Pakistan’s independence day, accused India of trying to marginalize and radicalize the region’s Muslims. He also called New Delhi’s move to strip Indian-controlled Kashmir of its autonomy a “strategic blunder” by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The territory is one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints. Claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, it has been the epicenter for more than 70 years of an often violent territorial struggle between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Khan declared himself a pacifist during his speech from Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, saying he believed in dialogue.
“I don’t want war but it’s clear now that they don’t want to talk,” he said. “War will not help us at all.”
“We will fight to the end if it comes to that. To the very end. And at the end of that path, Kashmir will be independent,” Khan added.
Khan said he had information that India was planning a “false-flag operation” in Kashmir. “We know, the army knows it. We are prepared,” he said.
India has said it will restore communications, but a definitive date for this has not been given. The spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs tweeted Tuesday that restrictions were “being eased out in a phased manner.”
Tens of thousands of additional Indian troops have been deployed into the already heavily-militarized region to head off unrest.
India will celebrate its own independence day, marking the country’s break from British colonial rule in 1947, on Thursday.
Pakistan’s government announced on Wednesday that it would observe India’s independence day as a “black day,” with flags on government buildings flying at half mast, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, Khan said Pakistan was mobilizing Kashmiri populations around the world to protest in support of the Kashmiri people, including in London.
“I am with my Kashmiri brothers at a time when they are facing their biggest crisis,” he said, adding that he wanted to become “Kashmir’s ambassador to the world.”
“They believe Muslims have no space in India,” Khan said Wednesday. “We are scared, deep inside, waiting to find out what horrors await after the blackout.”