ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday told the United Nations that humanitarian assistance has to be given to Afghanistan immediately.
“The Secretary General of the United Nations has taken bold steps. I urge you to mobilise the international community, and move in this direction,” the prime minister said in his address to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The prime minister said Pakistan has been blamed for the turn of events, by politicians in the United States and some politicians in Europe. “The country that suffered the most, apart from Afghanistan, was Pakistan, when we joined the US war on terror after 9/11,” he reminded.
The premier mentioned that 80,000 Pakistanis died, $150 billion dollars were lost to our economy, and there were 3.5 million internally displaced Pakistanis. “Then there are three million Afghan refugees still in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the only reason Pakistan suffered so much was because it became an ally of the US - of the coalition - in the war in Afghanistan.
“In trying to force a military solution is where the US went wrong. And if today, the world needs to know why the Taliban are back in power, all the world has to do is to do a deep analysis of why a 300,000 well-equipped Afghan army – and remember Afghans are one of the bravest nations on earth - gave up without a fight.”
The premier said there is only one way to go. “We must strengthen and stabilise the current government, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan.”
“If we neglect Afghanistan right now, according to the UN half the people of Afghanistan are already vulnerable, and by next year almost 90 percent of the people in Afghanistan will go below the poverty line. There is a huge humanitarian crisis looming ahead. And this will have serious repercussions not just for the neighbours of Afghanistan but everywhere. A destabilized, chaotic Afghanistan will again become a safe haven for international terrorists - the reason why the US came to Afghanistan in the first place,” he said.
Imran Khan said if the world community incentivises the Taliban government, and encourages them, it will be a win-win situation for everyone.
Mentioning Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), he said India has taken unilateral measures since 5th August 2019. He said India has unleashed a reign of terror by an occupation force of 900,000; it has jailed senior Kashmiri leadership; imposed a clampdown on media and internet; violently suppressed peaceful protests; abducted 13,000 young Kashmiris and tortured hundreds of them; it has extra-judicially killed hundreds of innocent Kashmiris in fake encounters; and imposed collective punishments by destroying entire neighbourhoods and villages.
“We have unveiled a detailed dossier on gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Indian security forces in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that the repression is accompanied by illegal efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, and transform it from a Muslim majority into a Muslim minority.
“Indian actions violate the resolutions of the UN Security Council on Jammu and Kashmir. The resolutions clearly prescribe that the ‘final disposition’ of the disputed territory should be decided by its people, through a free and impartial plebiscite held under the UN auspices,” he said.
He said India’s actions in IIOJ&K also violate international human rights and humanitarian laws, including the 4th Geneva Convention, and amount to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.”
“It is unfortunate, very unfortunate, that the world’s approach to violations of human rights lacks even-handedness, and even is selective. Geopolitical considerations, or corporate interests, commercial interests often compel major powers to overlook the transgressions of their affiliated’ countries,” he said.
He said such double standards are the most glaring in case of India, where this RSS-BJP regime is being allowed to get away with human rights abuses with complete impunity. He said the most recent example of Indian barbarity was the forcible snatching of the mortal remains of the great Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, from his family, denying him a proper Islamic funeral and burial, in accordance with his wishes and Muslim traditions.
Imran Khan said Pakistan desires peace with India, as with all its neighbours, but sustainable peace in South Asia is contingent upon resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. He said the onus remains on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented engagement with Pakistan.
“And for that, it must reverse its unilateral and illegal measures instituted since 5th August 2019; stop its oppression and human rights violations against the people of Kashmir; and halt and reverse the demographic changes in the occupied territory,” he said.
And then the premier brought attention to another important issue – Islamophobia. “In the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks, terrorism has been associated with Islam by some quarters. This has increased the tendency of right-wing, xenophobic and violent nationalists, extremists and terrorist groups to target Muslims,” he said, adding, “I call on the Secretary-General to convene a global dialogue on countering the rise of Islamophobia. Our parallel efforts, at the same time, should be to promote interfaith harmony, and they should continue.”
Imran Khan said the worst and most pervasive form of Islamophobia now rules India. “The hate-filled ‘Hindutva’ ideology, propagated by the fascist RSS-BJP regime, has unleashed a reign of fear and violence against India’s 200 million strong Muslim community. Mob lynching by cow vigilantes; frequent pogroms, such as the one in New Delhi last year; discriminatory citizenship laws to purge India of Muslims; and a campaign to destroy mosques across India and obliterate its Muslim heritage and history, are all part of this criminal enterprise,” he mentioned.
The prime minister said that because of the plunder of the developing world by their corrupt ruling elites, the gap between the rich and the poor countries is increasing at an alarming speed.
“The Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) has calculated that a staggering 7 trillion dollars in stolen assets are parked in the financial ‘haven’ destinations,” he said.
The premier said that organised theft and illegal transfer of assets has profound consequences for the developing nations.
“Retrieving the stolen assets from the developed countries is impossible for poor nations. The rich countries have no incentives, or compulsion, to return this ill-gotten wealth, and this ill-gotten wealth belongs to the masses of the developing world. I foresee, in the not-too-distant future a time will come when the rich countries will be forced to build walls to keep out economic migrants from these poor countries,” he said.
“I fear a few ‘wealthy islands’ in the sea of poverty will also turn into a global calamity, like climate change,” he said. The premier said the General Assembly must take steps meaningfully to address this deeply disturbing, and morally repugnant, situation.
The prime minister said the world is facing triple challenge of the COVID-19, the accompanying economic crisis, and the threats posed by climate change. He said the virus does not discriminate between nations and people. Nor do the catastrophes imposed by uncertain weather patterns.
“The common threats faced by us today not only expose the fragility of the international system; they also underscore the oneness of humanity,” he said. “To address the triple crisis of Covid pandemic, economic downturn, and climate emergency, we need a comprehensive strategy,” he said.
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