NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday night said Pakistan was a victim of American ungratefulness and international double standards.
In a pre-recorded speech, the prime minister touched on a range of topics that included climate change, global Islamophobia and the plunder of the developing world by their corrupt elites — the latter of which he likened to what the East India Company did to India.
The prime minister said the United States was as an abandoner of both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, international media reported.
“For the current situation in Afghanistan, for some reason, Pakistan has been blamed for the turn of events, by politicians in the United States and some politicians in Europe,” Imran Khan said. “From this platform, I want them all to know, the country that suffered the most, apart from Afghanistan, was Pakistan when we joined the US war on terror after 9/11.”
He launched into a narrative that began with the United States and Pakistan training mujahedeen — regarded as heroes by the likes of then-President Ronald Reagan, he said — during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But Pakistan was left to pick up the pieces — millions of refugees and new sectarian militant groups — when the Soviets and the Americans left in 1989.
Imran Khan said the US sanctioned its former partner a year later, but then came calling again after the 9/11 attacks. He said Pakistan’s aid to the US cost 80,000 Pakistani lives and caused internal strife and dissent directed at the state, all while the US conducted drone attacks.
“So, when we hear this at the end. There is a lot of worry in the US about taking care of the interpreters and everyone who helped the US,” he said, referring to Afghanistan. “What about us?”
Instead of a mere "word of appreciation,” Pakistan has received blame, Imran Khan said.
He said Pakistan desires peace, but it is India’s responsibility to meaningfully engage. He said Modi Hindu nationalist government was “fascist”.
“The worst and most pervasive form of Islamophobia now rules India,” Imran Khan said in his address.
“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,” he said.
Khan was referring to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the affiliated Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a century-old Hindu revivalist movement with a paramilitary component.
Under Modi, India has rescinded the autonomy of Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority region, pushed through a citizenship law that critics call discriminatory and has witnessed repeated flare-ups of religious-based violence.
Separately, Modi told the UNGA on Saturday that no country should exploit the turmoil in Afghanistan for its own advantage.
He called upon the international community to help the women, children and minorities of Afghanistan and said that it was imperative the country not be used as a base from which to spread terror.
“We … need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there, and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Sneha Dubey, a first secretary at India’s UN mission, accused Pakistan of nurturing terrorists.
Her reply triggered yet another response as Pakistani diplomat, Saima Saleem, took issue with Dubey’s contention that Kashmir is an internal issue.
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