ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has thanked former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for speaking in support of Kashmiris and against Indian repression in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir.

In a tweet on Saturday, Imran Khan further expressed his gratitude to Dr Mahathir Mohamad for choosing time of his function on August 8 to mark a year of the illegal Indian actions in IIOAJK.

Addressing a ceremony to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, the former Malaysian prime minister urged the international community to take notice of the deteriorating human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir.  

“I had chosen to speak out despite being aware of the potential backlash. To my mind, keeping quiet is not an option… I offer no apology for what I had said,” Mahathir said while addressing the event to mark a year of military siege in IIOJK.

He remarked that now that he is no more the prime minister, he takes it that he can now speak without restraint and address the Kashmir issue without threats of boycotts and such.

He termed Indian the action of abrogating article 370 and 35A as illegal and said that Kashmiris are living under siege by 900,000 occupation forces of India.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the decision by the BJP government also witnessed the deployment of tens of thousands of troops into the territories, the arrests of political leaders and dissenting civilians including children, and severing the internet and telephone networks to brutally enforce communication lockdown.

He said with the revocation of the provision, and enforcing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), people of Jammu and Kashmir are being subjected to the heavy-handedness of the occupying forces.

Dr Mahathir also shared some key points of the address on his Twitter handle which rubbished the impression created by multiple Indian media outlets on Saturday as the Malaysian leader felt any remorse over his remarks in support of the Kashmiri people for its adverse impact on Malaysian exports.

Putting to rest Indian media assertions, he said though his remarks had affected Malaysian palm oil export to India but “I don’t know if that is a high price to pay for speaking out against such injustices.”

During his last year’s address at United Nations General Assembly, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, “despite UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied. There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong.” He had called for resolution of the issue by peaceful means.

“India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the rule of law,” he had remarked at the United Nations.

He said all the tell-tale signs were pointing towards another situation whereby a big and powerful country imposed its will with impunity on a small and defenceless nation.