NEW YORK.: Prime Minister Imran Khan in his maiden address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York tugged at world conscience over Indian atrocities going on in occupied Kashmir, saying “will the world go for a market of 1.2 billion people, or for justice and humanity”.
“You think Kashmiris will accept a new status quo under revocation of Article 370. [Over] 100,000 Kashmiris [have been] killed, [and] thousands of women raped. [The] UN reported on this,” emotionally-charged PM Imran reminded the world leaders on Friday.
He regretted that the world knew about it but it remained quiet as it saw India as a huge market.
“Materialism has trumped humanity,” Imran said.
The PM apprised the world leaders of the persecution of innocent men, women and children in Kashmir at the hands of Indian occupation forces, who had illegally placed a population of eight million under detention, in utter disregard to the human rights.
He pointed out the rapes of thousands of Kashmiri women at the hands of Indian army troops, as pointed out in the two UN reports, the deaths of 100,000 Kashmiris, the detention of the entire Kashmiri political leadership, the abusive use of pellet guns against unarmed civilians, blockade of communication links and deployment of 900,000 security personnel to quell the freedom movement.
Attired in a blue traditional Pakistani dress, Imran said he was there at the UNGA at one of the most critical times his country was facing.
He warned of the consequences if the world community failed to realise the gravity of the situation confronting the two nuclear-armed countries.
He urged the UN to ask India to lift the inhuman curfew continuing for the past 55 days and return the 13,000 young boys lifted from their homes by the Indian security forces.
“What kind of a mindset locks up eight million people? Women, children, sick people. What I know of the West, they wouldn’t stand for eight million animals to be locked up. These are humans,” Imran said amidst a loud applause.
The prime minister spoke at length about the 11 violations committed by India against the UN resolutions, including the one against its own Constitution and the bilateral Simla Agreement with Pakistan.
“What will happen when the curfew is lifted? Modi says this is done for the prosperity of Kashmir. But what will happen when eight million Kashmiris come out of a lockdown and face 900,000 troops? I fear there will be a bloodbath.”
“This is a test for the UN. You guaranteed the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir,” he reminded the gathering of world leaders.
The prime minister repeatedly warned of another Pulwama-type attack, saying it would be the result of radicalisation due to the persistent denial of justice to the Kashmiri people.
He said Pakistan would be blamed should something happen and recalled how the two nuclear-armed nations almost went head to head in February.
“And this is why the UN has a responsibility. This is why you came into being in 1945!” Imran said.
He categorically stated that he was not threatening about a nuclear war.
“It is a worry. It is a test for the UN. You are the one who spoke about the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. This is not the time for appeasement like that in 1939 in Munich.
“Will the word community appease a fascist or will it stand up for justice and humanity?”
Imran said, “If a conventional war starts between two nuclear countries, anything could happen. It would have consequences far beyond the region.”
He said, “Supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour; faced with a choice – either you surrender, or you fight till the end? And my belief is there is no God but Allah. We will fight.”
Imran pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been reciting the mantra of “Islamic terrorism” as he did not have any other argument.
The phrase “Islamic terrorism”, he said, allowed India to dismiss human rights and increase persecution of the people of Kashmir.
He said the acts of the fascist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) backed government were leading to radicalisation of the Muslims. Following years of persecution, he added, the Kashmiris would be radicalised and feared that there would be more Pulwama-like incidents.
He recalled the statement of Indian army chief, who spoke of 500 terrorists in Pakistan getting ready to launch attacks in India and questioned as to why Pakistan would send only 500 when there were 900,000 Indian troops in IOK.
He said 180 million Muslims of India were also watching what was happening to the eight million locked up in IOK by the Indian army and so were the 1.3 billion Muslims around the world.
He warned that if there was a bloodbath, after the lifting of curfew, they would react as they saw that no justice was being done.
“How would the Jewish community react, if even 8,000 Jews were under lockdown? How would the Europeans react? How would any human community react? Are we children of a lesser God? Don’t you know this causes us pain,” Imran said.
PM Imran urged the world leaders to show seriousness and realise the urgency of climate change and effects of greenhouse gases, expressing the hope that the UN would take a leadership role in this regard.
The prime minister said so many leaders had talked about the climate change but he felt there was lack of seriousness as they did not realise the urgency of situation.
“We have a lot of ideas but as someone says ideas without funds are mere hallucination,” he added.
Imran said Pakistan was among the top 10 nations in the world, which were most affected by the climate change.
“We depend on our rivers, we are mainly an agricultural country and 80 per cent of the water in our rivers comes from glaciers. And even in India, 80 per cent water also comes from glaciers like Karakorum, Himalayas, Hindukush,” he added.
He said all the glaciers were melting at quite a rapid pace, and if it kept going and nothing was done, then he feared that humans would face a huge catastrophe.
“When our party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came to power in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, we planted a billion trees in five years and now we have set a target of 10 billion trees in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the idea was to counter the effects of global warming.
The prime minister told the world leadership that one country could not do anything and it had to be a combined effort of the entire world.
He said his optimism came from the fact that Allah Almighty had endowed the humans with great power, who could do anything.
He said the richer countries must be pushed, and those countries, which were mainly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, must be pushed.
“Our country has contributed minuscule amount to greenhouse gases.”
PM Imran termed money laundering as one of the major hindrances in the way of achieving Sustainable Development Goals by the developing nations.
He urged the UN to take the lead in curbing the menace through strict international laws.
“Every year billions of dollars are siphoned away by corrupt leaders from developing countries to the developed countries, which causes poverty and also widens gap between the rich and poor nations,” he said.
The prime minister said the money laundered abroad was looted and plundered by the corrupt leaders from developing nations. When he took charge of the government in Pakistan last year, his country’s debt had gone up four times during the previous 10 years, he added.
Regretting plunder of wealth by the ruling elite in developing counties, including Pakistan, he said it was the reason that half of his country’s annual revenues were spent on debt servicing.
The PM said when his government located the properties of the corrupt leaders in the West they found it difficult to retrieve the same as the laws there were protecting those criminals.
The rich countries, he said, should exhibit political will [to curb money laundering] so that developing nations could spend more on human development. “They must take action so that the corrupt money is not laundered from developing countries and stashed abroad in secret accounts,” he added.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the UN would take lead in it and also involve the international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for stopping the plunder of wealth.
The PM said after 9/11, Islamophobia grew alarmingly in the West, which was marginalising the Muslim communities and could also radicalise them. Even wearing Hijab (veil), he said, had become an issue in some countries.
“Hijab is some sort of weapon [for them].”
It started after 2001 when some of the world leaders equated Islam with terrorism, he added.
“There is only one Islam. What is radical Islam or Islamic terrorism? … Terrorism has nothing to do with any religion,” he said.
He said the use of phrases like Islamic terrorism and radicalism were the main reasons behind Islamohobia, which had caused pain to Muslims.
He said the world must address the issue, though unfortunately even the Muslim leaders did not address it either.
The prime minister said instead of addressing the issue, the Muslim leaders proclaimed as liberals and coined a new term of enlightened moderation.
He said suicide attacks were another factor behind Islamophobia as in the 9/11 incident, the attackers blew themselves up but Islam should not be blamed for such acts.
The world, he said, must know that Tamils had been the first suicide attackers in Sri Lanka but no one blamed Hinduism.
The Japanese Kamikaze had initiated suicide attacks in the Empire of Japan but no one blamed their religion too, he added.
He said the Western society did not treat the religion as the Muslims do, though some sections intentionally provoked the sentiments.
Apprising the world leaders of State of Madina, the prime minister said it was the first welfare state that took responsibility of weak, orphans, widows and handicapped, besides introducing the progressive taxation and guaranteeing equal rights for slaves and minorities regardless of colour and creed.
He said if any Muslim society carried out injustice to the minority, it was in fact violating the Islamic teachings.