Prime Minister Imran Khan in a much-awaited forceful speech at the United Nations asked the world community, whether Muslims are children of a lesser God. He spoke extempore for over 50 minutes in which he discussed climate change, corruption, Islam and Kashmir. He not only covered all major points in every area tackled. He also addressed multiple audiences, the West, Pakistan, and India. He was emotional but spoke with facts.
The Prime Minister started his speech by appealing to the world to take quick action on climate change as it affects everyone. Pakistan is in top ten countries most affected by climate change He pointed out that PTI government had planted 1 billion trees in KPK in past 5 years, and is intending to do another 10 billion across Pakistan in the next 5 years, however, he pointed out that one country alone cannot do enough.
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He then tackled another topic which is close to his heart: corruption and flight of capital. Here he excoriated the west that it accepted billions of illicit dollars that leave poorer countries, sent by their corrupt elites and reach the West via offshore companies, tax havens and go into property markets, and other markets in the West, London, and New York being prime beneficiaries. The same western countries make it difficult for poor governments to retrieve this money to bring back into their country. What he couldn’t mention, but if the West was really serious about money laundering they would make it easier to return illicit money. This would make it difficult for corrupt money launderers to take their money anywhere. There wouldn’t be much need for the FATF forums and so on if this was implemented.
While these are all extremely important topics at any point in time. But, in this UNGA meeting, what everyone was waiting for -and – the real highlight of his speech, was his addressing Islamophobia and Kashmir.
Before tackling Kashmir, Prime Minister Khan expressed he had always waited for this opportunity, to stand on the international forum to explain to the West why Muslims reacted in an emotional way to satirical comments and pictures on the Prophet Mohammad. For the West, it was very difficult to understand this he said and he narrated a story that when he went to the UK he remembered seeing a comedy on the Life of Jesus Christ and he was shocked. The comedy he was referring to most probably was the very famous Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a 1979 British show, which was a box office success, a satirical take on Jesus Christ. He eloquently explained that for Muslims, the Prophet Mohammad lived in their hearts and thus for them, ridicule of him was too close to them to ignore and forget. To further explain his point he gave the analogy of the Jews and the pain which Holocaust reminds them, and the sensitivity the West has to this.
Before talking of Kashmir, PM Imran Khan addressed the audience with his thoughts on India, and the peace gestures Pakistan under his government had made to Narendra Modi’s government. He made it clear, he had no ill intention towards India, he pointed out “I love going to India, I have friends in India, as a cricketer I had a huge number of fans there”. “As soon as we came to government we immediately reached out to India.” “I spoke with Modi when he spoke of terrorism, I reminded him about Kulbhushan Yadev and his actions in Karachi and Baluchistan and said let us move forward and focus on building our countries, focus on poverty issues, climate change issues.”
However, the Indian government was not interested in peace. Prime Minister pointed out that they canceled the foreign minister’s meetings that were meant to happen between the two countries last year at the UNGA, then after Pulwama, he reached out again and said provide evidence and we will take strict action, instead, India did Balakot and he jokingly added “and they struck 10 trees – which was quite painful, given that, you know, we are growing all these trees.” Pakistan returned the Indian pilot for humanitarian reasons and thought the Indian government was under pressure because of their upcoming elections. However, PM Imran Khan pointed out that during the Indian general election, Narendra Modi and his team spent all their time telling the electorate it was all about having taught Pakistan a lesson.
PM Imran Khan said after the Indian general elections, they reached out again, and it was not until Pakistani government found out that India was actively lobbying for its blacklisting they realized that Indians had their own agenda.
He came to his finale – Kashmir, he spoke over 20 minutes and castigated the international community for doing nothing because India has a market of 1.2 billion people, for forgetting the 100,000 Kashmiris that had died the past thirty years and the 11,000 women that had been raped. He asked them a rhetorical question: What do you think will happen when the curfew is lifted? What will the Kashmiris think – after being boxed up for 55 days, 13,000 boys picked up, no rights and treated like animals.
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He painted a grim picture for the world that there will be a bloodbath as the boys come out and the soldiers start shooting. Kashmiris can only be radicalized after this and there can only be another Pulwama and India will blame Pakistan he warned.
He ridiculed the Indian claims that Pakistan will send in 500 militants – and said what are 500 militants against 900,000 soldiers. Under the garb of calling something, ‘Islamic terrorism’ countries can get away with anything. “Are we Children of a Lesser God, will it not cause us pain?” Ironically he used the expression from Arundhuti Roy’s book God of Small Things, an Indian Christian author, who is fervently hated by the BJP.
He urged the UN to take responsibility and play the role it was set up to do so in 1945, and not standstill as the world community did in 1939 and allowed Germany to swallow Czechslovakia, which started World War 2, in which millions of people died. ” You are supposed to stop this happening” he exhorted the UN.
He warned the international community, Pakistan is a seven times smaller country, we have two options either we surrender or will will fight to our deaths. Here he mentioned that when two nuclear armed countries fight what ‘to death means.’
He ended his speech that this is the time to take action. India must be forced to immediately lift curfew, free political prisoner and the 13,000 boys and the World must push India to give Kashmiris the right to self determination.
His speech was applauded by all commentators:
PM Imran Khan delievers one of best speeches of his life. He has rightly warned deadly consequences for Kashmiris,Pakistani and Indians. Its high time sanity must prevail. Indian @PMOIndia & @ImranKhanPTI should meet,sit,show leadership and save region from catastrophe& disaster.
— Rauf Klasra (@KlasraRauf) September 27, 2019
Thankful to Allah for blessing us with PM Imran Khan who today proved that he is not just a leader of Pakistan & Kashmir but a Leader for all Muslims & one of the biggest voices of Humanity & Islam. May Allah protect him. #UNGA2019#IKFinalTalkForKashmir #ImranKhanVoiceOfKashmir
— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) September 27, 2019
Got my cuppa, I am settled in the couch to listen to mighty Imran Khan at UN. Pakistan couldn’t have had a better representation. A complete honour to have played with him. He is a tiger!
— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) September 27, 2019
Impassioned and forceful speech by PM Imran Khan at the U.N. Some parts of it would raise some eyebrows in the West. He has reminded U.N to fulfil its Kashmir pledge. But for the domestic audience, it has hit a home run.
— Salman Masood (@salmanmasood) September 27, 2019
Sincere , convincing , passionate & bold @ImranKhanPTI wide ranging speech advocated the cause of the Kashmiris with in a logical,legal humanistic framework.He spelt out the consequences of continued oppression for the Kashmiris to global peace and security. #WellDoneImrankhan
— Nasim Zehra (@NasimZehra) September 27, 2019