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PM Imran warns India against misadventure in UNGA address

PM Imran talks about Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, climate change, Islamophobia, and other matters

By Web Desk
September 25, 2020

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the 75th UNGA session, on September 25, 2020. — YouTube 

Prime Minister Imran Khan, addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session on Friday warned India against plotting a misadventure and said that Pakistan would fight till the end to protect its freedom.

"While the Nazis' hate was directed at the Jews, the RSS directs it at the Muslims, and to a lesser extent, the Christians," he said, adding that the extremist ideologists believe that India is exclusively for Hindus and others are not equal citizens.

"The secularism of Gandhi and Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra, by subjugating, even cleansing India's 200 million Muslims and other minorities," he said.

PM Imran spoke about the RSS's attempt to destroy the Babri Masjid and the massacre of 2,000 Muslims in the Gujarat riots. "And this was [Gujarat massacre] under the watch of chief minister Modi," he said. 

India's targeting of minorities 'unprecedented in history'

The premier spoke about India's discriminatory policies for Muslims during the pandemic, saying that the government blamed the minority group for spreading the coronavirus and they were denied medical treatment on many occasions.

"Last February, Muslims faced target killings with police complicity in Delhi," he said.

Referring to it as something that was "unprecedented in history", PM Imran said that the Hindutva ideology sought to persecute 300 million Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

PM Imran then spoke about India's August 5 attempt to annex occupied Kashmir, adding that this was against the commitments India had made to the people of Kashmir and the world.

"About 13,000 Kashmiri youth were incarcerated and thousands tortured [since the August 5 move]," he said. "Indian occupation forces have used brute force including pellet guns against peaceful protesters," he added.

"The Kashmiri media and those daring to raise their voices are being systematically harassed through draconian laws," he said, drawing the world's attention to the Indian forces' brutal act of killing hundreds of Kashmiris in fake encounters and refusing to hand over their bodies back to their relatives.

India playing a 'dangerous game'

He called on the international community to prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel for their "crimes against humanity" in occupied Kashmir.

PM Imran said that India was attempting to obliterate the distinct Kashmiri identity by altering the area's demography, to escape the plebiscite which is in line with the UN resolutions.

"This action is in violation of the UN charter, [Security] Council resolutions and international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention," he said. "Changing the demographic structure of an occupied territory is a war crime."

The prime minister praised the people of Kashmir, saying that "generation after generation of Kashmiris have laid down their lives to rid themselves of Indian occupation" and that they will never submit before the Indian state as their struggle was indigenous.

"The government of Pakistan is committed to stand by its Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination," he said.

PM Imran warned that India was playing " a dangerous game" by upping the military ante against Pakistan to divert the world's attention in a nuclearised environment.

He said that if the fascist RSS-led Indian government decides to commit any misadventure against Pakistan, it will be met by a nation that is ready to fight till the end for its freedom.

PM Imran said that durable peace in South Asia will not be possible till the issued of occupied Kashmir is not resolved on the basis of international legitimacy, confirming the world's concern that Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint.

Afghan peace must take place 'without any interference'

The prime minister used the occasion to speak about the Afghan peace process, stating that Pakistan's efforts to bring about an end to conflict in the war-torn country were evidence of its desire for peace in the country.

"I have consistently maintained over the past two decades that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The only way forward was and is a political settlement which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors," he said.

He urged the Afghan leaders to seize the historic opportunity for peace to achieve reconciliation, saying that the process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and without any interference or outside influence.

"Early return of Afghan refugees must be a part of this political solution. After almost two decades of war, it is imperative not to allow “spoilers” – within and outside Afghanistan – to subvert the peace process," he said. 

PM lauds Pakistan's smart lockdown policy

Speaking about his government's smart lockdown policy, the prime minister said that Pakistan opened up the agriculture and construction sector.

He credited the government's Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme and other policies towards steering Pakistan out of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the prime minister cautioned that Pakistan was not yet "out of the woods".

"We are not yet out of the woods like no country is out of the woods yet," he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime minister spoke out against the flow of illicit financing from developing countries to the developed ones. He said that these "stolen resources" that flow from the developing countries to the developed ones end up weakening the economy and promoting poverty in third world countries.

"If this policy continues, it will accentuate the difference between the rich and the poor," said PM Imran, adding that rich countries lacked the political will to "curb this criminal activity".

"Eventually, it will spark off a bigger global crisis, a far bigger global crisis than the migration crisis poses," he said, adding that rich states cannot talk about human rights when they provide protection to money launderers and their ill-gotten wealth.

PM Imran said that there are robust anti-money laundering regimes, adding that he calls upon the UN "to take the lead in efforts to build a global framework, to stem the illicit financial flows and ensure speedy repatriation of stolen wealth".

"It is important to realise that the aid that flows from the rich to the developing world is minuscule compared to the massive outflows by our corrupt elites," he said.

At the conclusion of his address, the prime minister called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, urging India to roll back its illegal and undemocratic August 5 move.

"Pakistan has always called for a peaceful solution. To this end, India must rescind the measures it has instituted since 5 August 2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations," he said. "And agree to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and of course the wishes of the people of Kashmir."

International day to combat Islamophobia

The premier also touched upon the issue of Islamophobia during his speech, condemning the rising incidences of the burning of the Holy Quran and the publication of blasphemous material against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

"Muslims continue to be targeted with impunity in many countries," he said. "Our shrines are being destroyed, our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) insulted, the Holy Quran burnt, and all this in the name of freedom of speech."

Climate change

The prime minister said that Pakistan's contribution to carbon emission was very low when one considered many countries in the world but it was one of the countries most affected by climate change.

The prime minister said that his government has launched an "extremely ambitious" plan to combat climate change by planting 10 billion trees over the next three years.

He called on world leaders to abide by the provisions of the Paris agreement on climate change. "Commitments made through the Paris agreement must be fulfilled, in particular, the commitment to mobilise $100billion annually as climate finance," he said.