Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, where he drew world attention to the emerging humanitarian crisis in Indian occupied Kashmir, among other issues and criticised Indian PM Narendra Modi and his party’s ultra-nationalist hardline style of governance.
In his address at the UN headquarters, he said that if the world failed to intervene then the two-nuclear armed nations will come at the brink of war. The prime minister further said that Pakistan won’t have any option in case of war and the entire world will have to face the consequences.
Speaking on Kashmir, Imran said that the issue was the reason he came to the session and speak about what is happening in the occupied valley. In his address, the PM said that India ended the special status of occupied Kashmir, flouting 11 resolutions of the UN Security Council.
He said that it is the responsibility of the UN to ensure that Kashmiris get their right to self-determination. Under the guise of ‘Islamic terrorism’ India is inflicting more cruelty on the people of Kashmir, he said.
“There is no other narrative left for India,” said the PM, adding that there is another chance of a Pulwama-like incident to blame and ‘bomb’ Pakistan. “India must lift this inhuman curfew,” said PM Imran, further saying that ‘picked-up persons’ from the valley should be released by India. Due to these issues, eight million people under lockdown in the valley are likely to get radicalised, he said.
“If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice: either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death?” he said.
“What will we do? I ask myself these questions. We will fight… and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders.” He said there will be bloodbath once curfew is lifted in IOK.
“There are 900,000 troops there, they haven’t come to, as Narendra Modi says — for the prosperity of Kashmir… These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do? When they come out? There will be a bloodbath,” he said.
The IOK is under lockdown for over 50 days following New Delhi’s illegal move of revoking its special status on August 5. The Indian government has deployed ten of thousands of additional troops in addition to already 800,000-strong contingent, imposed severe restrictions including curfew and communication blockade.
Thousands of people have been detained and political leaders are placed under house arrest.
I invite UN to visit Pakistan see for themselves the steps we have taken to counter terrorism, he said, adding that Pakistan reached out to India several times but to no avail. “[Narendra Modi’s] hidden agenda came to fore on August 5, when New Delhi revoked special status of occupied Kashmir and locked 80 million Kashmiris in curfew.”
He said Indian actions in IOK were pushing people to pick guns. “When you’re imprisoning 8 million people, you are forcing them to pick arms,” he said
At the beginning of his speech, Prime Minister Imran spoke on the issue of climate change, where he said that this issue is not of a single country but should be dealt collectively.
“Our country is among the top 10 nations in the world, which are most affected by climate change,” he said. Pakistan being an agricultural country primarily, derives 80 per cent of its water from glaciers, said the premier, adding that the glaciers are melting at an alarming pace.
“I feel the UN must take leadership in this,” he said, adding that the great powers will have to step up.
The Pakistan prime minister raised the issue of corruption in poorer countries saying billions of dollars were being siphoned off to richer countries and tax havens. “Every year, billions of dollars leave the poor countries and go to the rich countries. Mr president, this is devastating for the poorer countries,” he said.
Speaking on the menace of Islamophobia, the prime minister said that billions of Muslims are living as minorities in the western countries and since 9/11 the rise in Islamophobia is ‘alarming’.
Imran told the UN that there should be an understanding for other faiths, but they are seen as creating division among global population. “Hijab has become an issue in some countries… it is seen as a weapon,” he said. “There is no such thing as radical Islam,” said the prime minister, pointing out that all religions have individuals carrying out radical acts.
The premier explained the reasons of the rise of Islamophobia in the world. He said hatred against Muslims rose when some western leaders equated Islam with terrorism. People living in the western world, he said, have a different point of view about the religion than people living in Muslim countries.
“Certain sections in the western world deliberately published books against Islam causing fury in the Muslim countries and Muslims were portrayed as intolerant and extremist,” he said.
The false perception, he added, was created due to the inability of Muslim leaders to explain the sanctity of religion and Holy Prophet (PBUH) for the Muslims. He said there was nothing like radical or extremist Islam, lashing out at leaders for using the term “radical Islam”.
“How a person living in the western country would distinguish between radical Islam and modern Islam,” he said, and added that in all religions there were extremists but no religion taught such ideals.