Imran Khan’s Historic UNGA Speech

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Imran Khan’s Historic UNGA Speech

Key Takeaways

“Supposing a country 7 times smaller than its neighbour; faced with a question. Either you surrender, or you fight till the end. I ask myself this question. And my belief is “La ilaha illAllah,” [There is no God but one]. We will FIGHT!”

On September 27, Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered his maiden, a highly eloquent and impassioned, speech at the United Nations General Assembly. In his 50-minute speech, PM Khan castigated India over its Kashmir crackdown and warned of a “blood bath” when and if Indian authorities lift a curfew over the disputed territory. He also 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” and demanded the world community to give the Kashmiris their right to self-determination they were promised by the United Nations itself. He warned of the consequences if the world community failed to realize the gravity of the situation confronting the two nuclear-armed countries.

871436-imran-khan-unga-sept-27-afp-2While addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Prime Minister Imran Khan put forward his four-point agenda based on climate change, money laundering, Islamophobia and the one he is an ardent advocate of, i.e. Kashmir issue. Here are some key takeaways from PM Khan’s historic speech:

  1. Climate Change

At the beginning of his speech, Prime Minister Imran spoke on the issue of climate change. Expressing his views on this burning issue, the prime minister showed disappointment with the lack of seriousness in this regard by the international community. “I have seen a lot of leaders talk about this. But I don’t see world leaders really realizing the urgency of the situation.” He said that this issue is not of a single country but should be dealt with collectively. I have seen a lot of leaders talk about this. But I don’t see world leaders really realizing the urgency of the situation. We have a lot of ideas; but as they say, ideas without funding is mere hallucination. Talking about Pakistan, he said, “Pakistan is among the top 10 nations in the world affected by climate change. We depend on or rivers, we are mainly an agricultural country. 80 percent of our water comes from the glaciers and these are melting at an alarming pace. We detected 5000 glacier lakes in our mountains. If nothing is done, we fear humans are facing a huge catastrophe.” He added: “I feel the UN must take leadership in this.”

  1. Corruption and Money laundering

Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue of corruption in poorer countries and billions of dollars being siphoned off to richer countries and tax havens.  “Every year billions of dollars are siphoned off by ruling elites of the developing world.  This is causing more poverty in under developed countries. The poor countries are being plundered by elites,” he said.

Mentioning the indifference of richer countries, he said, “When we located the properties of these corrupt leaders we found it difficult to retrieve it. It is critical that rich countries show political will to address the matter.  Corrupt elements should not be allowed to keep money in foreign accounts.” He said if the poorer gets poorer and richer gets richer then a new crisis could arise.

  1. Islamophobia

Addressing the prevalence of Islamophobia, Prime Minister Imran said that the menace grew alarmingly in the West and it was marginalising the Muslim communities and could also radicalise them. Castigating certain European leaders, the premier said, “Muslim women wearing Hijab has become a problem. It is seen as a weapon. A woman can take off her clothes in some countries but she cannot put more on. And why has this happened? Because certain western leaders equated Islam with terrorism.” He categorically stated, “There is no such thing as radical Islam. There is only ONE Islam and that is the Islam of Prophet (PBUH),” pointing out that all religions have individuals carrying out radical acts and that radical fringes in every society, but the basis of ALL religion is compassion and justice. Warning the world community against the blasphemous acts in Europe, he said, “Our Prophet (PBUH) lives in our heart, and when he is maligned, it hurts us … In western society, the holocaust is treated with sensitivity because it hurts the Jewish community. So that’s the same respect we ask for; do not hurt our sentiments by maligning our Holy Prophet (PBUH). That is all we ask.”

  1. Kashmir Issue

The issue which the prime minister talked in most detail about was the oppression of the people of occupied Kashmir. In his emotional speech, PM Khan drew world attention to the emerging humanitarian crisis in Indian-occupied Kashmir. He heavily criticised Indian PM Narendra Modi and his party’s ultra-nationalist hardline style of governance. He said that the Indian government’s decision to scrap the provisions under Article 370, could lead to a bloodbath when the curfew in Kashmir is lifted. “Has PM Modi thought what would happen when the curfew in Kashmir is lifted? Do you think people in Kashmir would accept that you have withdrawn the special status?” he asked. The PM maintained that thousands of children in Kashmir have been put under detention. “They, too, will come out on the streets after the curfew in the state is lifted and the Army will shoot them. But whatever happens in Kashmir after the curfew is lifted, there will be another terror attack like Pulwama and Pakistan will be blamed,” Khan said. He asked the world community, “Don’t you think that 180 Million Muslims will be radicalised in India as they see 8 million Kashmiris locked up? And what about 1.3 billion Muslims who are watching this knowing that this is only happening to Kashmiri Muslims?”

maxresdefaultPressing in the United Nations to intervene in Kashmir, he said, “It is a test for the United Nations. You are the one who said Kashmir right to self determination. This is not the time for appeasement like that in 1939 in Munich. This is the time when you, the United Nations, must urge India to lift the curfew; to free the 13,000 Kashmiris who have disappeared meanwhile and this is the time when the UN must insist on Kashmir’s right to self determination!”

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