PM pricks world conscience

2023

IN his much-awaited address to the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan made a convincing case on Kashmir, trying forcefully to prick the conscience of the world community to break its silence and act urgently to end miseries of Kashmiris and resolve the longstanding dispute between the two nuclear armed rivals. Through his 45-minute extempore speech, the Prime Minister touched all aspects of Kashmir conflict, the issue of Islamophobia, corruption by elite and the climate change.
One might have political differences with the Prime Minister but it would be hard for anyone to dispute the fact that Imran Khan was argumentative and put across Pakistan’s point of view on all these issues, especially Kashmir, in an effective manner. There is growing realization among the world community about what is happening in India-occupied Kashmir but it was lacking in practical measures to address the situation in a fair manner and that is why the Prime Minister emphasized that the world should not compromise on principles for the sake of economic interests. Life remains paralyzed in the IoK for almost two months and one can imagine the plight of the inhabitants there who are living under 24-hour curfew and, therefore, there was an urgency to lift the curfew and bring an end to gross human rights violations by occupation forces. The post-curfew possibilities and dangers were also highlighted by the Premier when he told his audience that Kashmiris, whose rights have been trampled, would come on streets whenever curfew is lifted and eight hundred thousand troops would shoot them. He reminded the world body of its responsibility to take measures to prevent bloodbath in Occupied Kashmir that could also trigger a war between Pakistan and India which could have consequences beyond their borders. The influential members of the international community must listen to his impassioned appeal to discard the policy of appeasing India and act now. There is general impression that the Prime Minister convincingly used his speech as well as other engagements and bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session to explain the genesis of Kashmir dispute, reasons of Indian atrocities against Kashmiris, exposing fallacy of Indian claims on the issue, and fall out of the conflict for the entire region and beyond. As India, now-a-days, is engaged in anti-Pakistan propaganda in a bid to divert attention to the ground situation in Occupied Kashmir, the Prime Minister expressed apprehensions that there could be a repeat of the fighting between the nuclear-armed neighbours if India used the pretext of terrorism to launch attacks inside Pakistan, as it did in February. He recalled that the Pulwama attack in February was carried out by a local Kashmiri who was radicalised inside Kashmir, but New Delhi blamed Pakistan. He recalled that Pakistan asked for proof (of its involvement) but instead of proofs, India sent bombers, adding that a similar attack now could have very dangerous consequences. As India has been in the habit of seeking refuge behind allegations of terrorism (by Pakistan), Imran Khan boldly told the world that the country has completely dismantled all terror groups and offered the UN to verify the fact. This is in sharp contrast to the total communication blockade imposed by India in Occupied Kashmir to hide its war crimes and state-sponsored terrorism there. And true to his commitment to leave no stone unturned to advocate the cause of Kashmiri people at all forums, the Prime Minister, in his meeting with the UN Secretary General António Guterres, highlighted the responsibility of the United Nations and the international community to take urgent steps to protect the people of India-occupied Kashmir and help resolve the long-standing dispute of Kashmir. He once again conveyed Pakistan’s rejection of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5 — through which it revoked occupied Kashmir’s special autonomy — saying these were in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Simla Agreement and India’s own Constitution. As per official version of the meeting, the world body’s chief reiterated his deep concern over the human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied territory but, as pointed out by the Premier, it is time to act in view of gravity of the situation and to save lives of Kashmiris, who are facing genocide. In a nutshell, the way the Prime Minister has pleaded the case of Kashmiri people at the UN would surely serve as morale booster for Kashmiris and sent a strong message to them that they are not alone in their legitimate struggle and at this critical juncture.

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