Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday addressed the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The general debate of the 193-member assembly, which is traditionally a high-profile annual UN event, opened on September 22. However, this year it was a slimmed-down affair, with world leaders staying away from New York because of the coronavirus pandemic. They will be contributing set-piece speeches via video link.
PM Imran Khan represents Pakistan at this year’s UNGA
According to the list, PM Imran Khan, who last year made his debut at the UN as head of state, was the sixth speaker in the afternoon session on September 25. He covered 14 wide-ranging issues from Kashmir’s lockdown and suppression, RSS’s Hindutva ideology, and money laundering, to climate change and UNSC reform.
The Prime Minister began his speech by saying that the agenda of his government from the start has been to transform Pakistan, make it into a stable and prosperous nation – modelled on the principles of the State of Madinah. However, he said, “this stability and prosperity’ was not possible without peace and stability in the broader and regional context.”
COVID-19 and international cooperation imran khan
He said that the world order has been in dissent. “International cooperation has been on the decline and unilateralism on the rise.” Added PM Imran Khan.
Co-ordination between nations was a necessity in moving the world order forward, but the degrading relations around the world were accelerating new arms races, intensifying conflicts. The premier quoted Noam Chomsky, that the world was at the most dangerous point in history it had ever been in, more dangerous than the world wars. The reason, Prime Minister Imran said was the threat of nuclear war.
Pakistan, he continued had always supported multilateralism and international cooperation. COVID-19 pandemic, according to him, had proven that the world was one.
While addressing the issue of COVID-19 the PM said “nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” Exclaimed the PM. “Pakistan’s ‘smart lockdown’ was an effective strategy to protect people from the virus and death by hunger.” Exclaimed PM Imran Khan.
On economic recession and illicit financial flows
“The world was suffering a deep recession and the poor and the most vulnerable,” Khan said. Pakistan had managed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, curbed its spread, restarted the economy, and most importantly helped the poor avoid the crippling effects of the economic recession.
The most pertinent measure that the world community should take is to give debt relief to developing nations. The measure he explained would help developing nations, give them financial relief. This would give developing nations financial expansionary options.
The IMF had estimated that the cost of developing nations’ recovery to be $2.5 trillion. The developed nation he said had raised $10 trillion for recovery.
Illicit financial activities, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, were “a huge financial drain on developing nations.” Money transferred to foreign accounts by the ‘elites’ of these nations was far greater than the aid that was provided by rich countries to developing nations.
He said, “Due to the incentive of capital inflow, there was little motivation of helping in the countries where the money was being kept.” This could eventually create a greater crisis in these relatively poor countries, the PM added.
Climate change needs to be addressed urgently: Imran Khan
Similarly, PM Imran Khan said that climate change was a huge issue and needed to be addressed urgently. he said that even though Pakistan’s carbon emissions were very low, but is likely to suffer a large of the brunt of the climate change effect. Pakistan had in order to combat the effects of climate change planned to grow 10 billion trees.
COVID-19 was supposed to bring people closer, the premier said but had, in fact, made people more resentful towards other communities. There is a general increase in Islamophobia he said, and so an international day against Islamophobia must be created.
World should declare an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”
“One country that sponsors and fuels Islamophobia, is India, under the control of an RSS inspired regime.” said the PM. There had an unprecedented increase against minorities, targetted killings under the supervision of the police, cow vigilantes killing, and lynching Muslims. Under the same Hindutva ideology, last year in August the Indian government tried to change the status of Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Thousands of people had been abducted and hundreds of young people killed in fake encounters, and their bodies not returned.
“The Jammu and Kashmir valley area is a nuclear flashpoint,” he said, and “Pakistan has shown extreme constraint, despite India’s provocations.”
Modis fascist government
The design behind India’s revocation of the status of Kashmir was that it wanted to change the demography of the region which was a war crime, PM Imran Khan said. “Any move by India will be met by a nation that is ready to defend itself”
The UN he said must find a solution for Kashmir like it did with East Timor. The UN council had met three times last year of the issue and South-Asia would not find peace without the Kashmir issue being solved.
Pakistan he said had always supported the idea of regional peace of stability. Pakistan’s efforts in Afghanistan had borne results by arranging the peace talks between all parties in Afghanistan, and he hoped that peace and stability come to Afghanistan, which was imperative for regional connectivity.
Regional Peace and Security in South Asia
“There will be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved on the basis of international legitimacy.” Said Imran Khan.
“Pakistan has consistently sensitized the world community about a ‘false flag’ operation and another ill-conceived misadventure by India.” The PM added. He further stated that any attempt by the fascist totalitarian RSS-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan will be met by a nation that will fight for its freedom to the end.
Afghanistan & Palestine
Imran Khan said he extends his full support for Afghan peace process. “The only way forward was and is a political settlement which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors” said the Pakistani PM.
Moreover, he reiterated Pakistan’s principled position. “Pakistan continues to support a two-state solution – in line with UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, within the internationally agreed parameters, pre-1967 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the Capital of a united, contiguous and independent Palestinian state.”
PM Imran Khan’s last year’s speech at UNGA
The focus of his speech last year was also on Islamophobia and the occupation of Kashmir and he spoke with such conviction that the audience applauded him a number of times during his speech. All the talk about radical Islam in the Western world was brilliantly shot down by PM Imran, saying that there was only one true Islam.
The Pakistani Prime Minister systematically, again, exposed the Indian mindset on Kashmir.
He told the world Narendra Modi is a lifetime member of the fascist RSS, an extremist Hindu organisation that was behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. It was this ideology that drove Narendra Modi to massacre around 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Now it is the same ideology that is behind the Indian government’s lockdown in Kashmir.
Expectations from the PM were no less
“I expect that the prime minister will once again raise the cause of the Kashmiri people for self-determination and azadi [freedom] from Indian oppression,” Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram told APP last month.
Akram added that the Prime Minister would also talk about Pakistan’s facilitation of and hopes for the peace process in Afghanistan, its successful response to the coronavirus crisis, debt relief for developing countries and other international issues in his wide-ranging address. The PM successfully addressed all these issues.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak on September 26, a day after the Pakistani leader’s address.
United Nations revises assembly protocols amid coronavirus pandemic
UNGA President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, last month had said each Member State, Observer State and the European Union were invited to submit a pre-recorded video, delivered by its designated high-level official, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall. Speeches of all speakers would be limited to 15 minutes.
The iconic General Assembly Hall will not be empty as videos will be introduced by a representative of each state, who will be physically present.
Indian delegate walks out at the outset of PMs speech
Funnily, as PM Imran Khan spoke, the Indian delegate walked out of the UNGA hall.
Read more: Will Pakistan ever see another leader like Jinnah?
The same procedure will apply for a series of special high-level sessions scheduled to take place, including a commemoration of the landmark 75th anniversary of the United Nations; a summit on biodiversity; and a meeting to commemorate and promote, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Side-events, such as New York Climate Week, are unlikely to welcome attendees to New York venues this year, following Muhammad-Bande’s suggestion that they should be moved online.
The decision to introduce pre-recorded videos to the High-Level General Debate, which takes place at the beginning of the 75th session of the General Assembly, was made by the UN body on Wednesday, using the novel ‘silence procedure’ method.
Under this method, draft resolutions are circulated by the UNGA president which gives member states a deadline of at least 72 hours to raise objections.
If there are no objections, the president circulates a letter, confirming that the resolution has been adopted.