PM Imran Khan who very recently went to the US for address at the United Nations General Assembly, and other forums, made his presence well felt to other leaders including Trump and Modi. In continuation of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to sensitize world about Kashmir issue and raise voice on Indian atrocities in Kashmir since 5 August, when India abrogated Articles 370 and 35-A and turned the valley into prison, Pakistan has become more vocal on Kashmir and PM Imran Khan on different occasions said that consider him as “Ambassador of Kashmir” in the world. PM in his keynote address at the General Assembly on 27 September 2019 highlighted some main points and received applause during and after the speech. In the presence of leaders of member States, PM mentioned that he will speak about four main points in his address.
First he highlighted about the global climate change and efforts Pakistan is doing so to face this changing weather and hazards as it is among top 10 countries to be affected by global climate change. He urged the UN to take the lead in countering the challenge posed by climate change and regretted that there is lack of seriousness and perhaps world leaders do not realize the urgency of the situation. Secondly he spoke about another global problem which is tapping of money from developing world by the corrupt elite and reaching to advanced countries. He said money laundering is not treated the same as money of drugs or terror financing and causes more poverty, debt and destruction in developing countries. Thirdly, he talked about radicalization and Islamophobia and said it is impacting the Muslims worldwide, especially in the western countries. He said terms like Islamic radicalism, Islamic terrorism are used by some leaders without realization, which contribute to spread of hatred against Muslims. This thing is marginalizing Muslim communities, which leads to radicalization. He categorically stated that there is only one Islam.
The fourth and the most pertinent point by PM was to expose Indian brutalities not in Occupied Kashmir but what Modi and his team is doing in following the RSS ideology. After assuming his office, the Prime Minister said his first priority was to reach out to the neighbours, but unfortunately Modi never reciprocated his peace overtures. He said as a peace gesture we also returned India’s pilot who was captured by Pakistan in response to Indian aggression in Balakot. He said India also tried to put Pakistan into the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force that is when we realized the agenda of the Modi regime. Highlighting Pakistan’s role against terrorism, the Prime Minister said the country acted as a frontline state in war against terrorism. We rendered sacrifices of over 70,000 people and suffered an economic loss of 150 billion dollars. He said we were committed against the menace of terrorism and did everything to dismantle their structure and that there would be no militant organization in Pakistan. He said though India accuses Pakistan of terrorism, we ask the United Nations to send their observers to see for themselves what Pakistan has done. We also started fencing the border with Afghanistan. ‘He came, he saw and he conquered’ are the words now people are using for Imran Khan for fighting bravely Kashmir issue diplomatically at international forum. The highpoint of his more than 45-minute-long speech was intense criticism of India for its annexation of occupied Kashmir and the continued restrictions imposed in the region. The PM pointed out that Modi’s entire election campaign revolved around an anti-Pakistan narrative and told world about his party’s ultra-nationalist hard-line style of governance.” In his election campaign, Mr Modi used words like ‘This is just a trailer. The movie is about to start’ and ‘I went into Pakistan and taught them a lesson’. “He said that the answer to how anyone can do something like this lies in the RSS ideology followed by Modi. He told audience what RSS is by saying that Modi is a life member (of RSS).It is an organisation inspired by Hitler and Mussolini. They believe in racial purity and superiority. They believe they are an Aryan race. They believe in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims. They believe a golden age of Hindu rule was stopped by Muslims and then the British occupation”. And the reason they are doing so much in Kashmir lies behind this Hindutva ideology.
PM said that when we highlight brutalities in Kashmir by India they have sent extra 180,000 troops there and the total number of security forces in Kashmir now stand at 900,000 and they have put eight million people of occupied Kashmir under curfew and world must imagine how life is in imprisonment for more than 55 days. He mentioned that even pro-India local leaders were taken out of Kashmir as part of crackdown and 13,000 boys were picked up and taken to unknown locations. This is one of the most critical times and India still has not thought what will happen when curfew is uplifted. There will be more bloodshed and there will be a reaction to this and Pakistan will be blamed. Two nuclear countries will come face to face.
If a conventional war starts between the two countries, supposing a country seven times smaller is faced with a choice to surrender or fight to the end. When a nuclear country fights till the end it has consequences far beyond the borders so it’s a test of the UN. You are the one who guaranteed the Kashmiris the right of self-determination. PM reiterated that it is the time not to appease but to take action. PM speech is well-appreciated at all fora and now time will tell how India behaves in coming days as Pakistan is trying its best to awake conscience of world community about Kashmir and hope that Pakistan’s efforts are reciprocated by UN member states while understanding the gravity of situation and act before it’s too late.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.