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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Imran Khan’s passionate appeal: Will the world wake up to Kashmir?

Imran Khan through his maiden UNGA speech put the Kashmir issue at the top of the UN agenda and the so-called leaders of the free world in their rightful place & history will be a judge to that.

Imran Khan with his fiery and passionate speech has sensitized not only the Kashmir issue to the whole world to a new level that it cannot be ignored anymore but spoken eloquently on climate change, financial corruption/money laundering, and Islamophobia.

Now all the world leaders are back in their dens, now let us be introspective about Imran Khan’s week-long visit to New York and speech at the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

If we peek into history, we find that as opposed to Pakistani pioneers politicians of the most recent decade but with the exception of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, whose nearness at the UNGA was minimal noted and even less persuasive, but on the contrary even when Pakistan has a lot of headwinds but Imran Khan was whole heartily recognized at each occasion he went to in New York and searched out by the pioneers of UN part states, universal associations, worldwide organisations and the awaiting press.

I will dissect Imran Khan’s 4-point speech in reverse-chronological order as to cover the crucial Kashmir issue first.

The Kashmir Issue

Yes, PM Imran Khan’s main attention was rightly on Kashmir while he was there for 7 days and also highlighted other issues that Pakistan is facing but more so how Pakistan can help to bring peace in South Asia and mediate between Iran & Saudi Arabia to normalize relations.

We have already seen that Imran Khan’s speech is being criticized for various reasons in Pakistan and especially in India that is just to placate their own base and protect their interests but I feel Imran Khan has left nothing in his speech that deserves criticism.

For once people need to understand that Kashmir is the main issue and the stakes are much higher than anyone can expect and secondly he had to explain why India is doing this and what’s the ideology behind it because whenever a suicide attack happened or a terrorist event takes a place in occupied Kashmir or India Pakistan is blamed without any proof.

For me, the most important words that Imran Khan said about the Kashmir issue are, “They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them… Kashmiris will be further radicalized.”

Imran Khan had to anticipate the genuine idea of the BJP-RSS government, the grave human rights infringement it is executing in Kashmir, what’s more, the risk of a conceivably cataclysmic war between two atomic weapon states that no one wants.

Imran Khan said, “When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. “It will have consequences for the world,” clearly appealing to the world community to do something about this issue before it gets out of control as India will try to do some adventurism on the Pakistani border just to divert the attention of Kashmir issue and blame Pakistan for it subsequently.”

To understand the magnitude of the problems know that there are 900,000 Indian forces in the region policing 8 million Kashmiris and they don’t stand a chance against them and are helpless.

Imran Khan further stated, “What’s he (Modi) going to do when he lifts the curfew? Does he think the people of Kashmir are quietly going to accept the status quo? What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath.”

For me, the most important words that Imran Khan said about the Kashmir issue are, “They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them… Kashmiris will be further radicalized.”

Now let’s consider India’s point of view and Mr. Modi’s speech briefly.

Mr. Modi underlined that terrorism was probably the greatest test confronting the world; Mr. Modi offered the global network to join against it.

Read more: Are We Children of a lesser God: PM Imran Khan, UNGA

Mr. Modi without mentioning Pakistan said, “We believe, that this is one of the biggest challenges, not for any single country, but for the entire world and humanity. And that is why, for the sake of humanity, I firmly believe, that it is absolutely imperative, that the world unites against terrorism, and that the world stands as one against terrorism”.

Yes, he is right but should he had the moral courage and obligation to his own people:

i) Tell the whole world what’s happening in Kashmir in his own words and calm the growing fears of war between his neighbors?

ii) As to why he abrogated Article 370 of the Indian constitution?

iii) Why the curfew is still in place even after over 55 days?

iv) What about the thousands of detentions of Kashmiri teenagers?

The reason I say this is because he needs to at least say something about the ongoing Kashmir issue & because the Security Council’s gathering of Aug 16, 2019, was a huge insistence of its duty to address the Kashmir question and nullification of India’s statement that it is its inward issue.

Furthermore the announcements in the Human Rights Council of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 50 or more nations, the European Union, a few UN uncommon rapporteurs, and human rights gatherings are another delineation of global concern that is growing and I am sure will keep growing unless the curfew is lifted and Mr. Modi answers some hard questions on basis of reality on the ground.

World Powers and Kashmir

To add fuel on fire Trump has again offered to help and mediate between Pakistan & India over the Kashmir issue even after the big Howdy Modi rally and what’s worse is that the state department has asked India to lift and ease curfew restriction.

More so, for the first time many other important states like China, Turkey, and Malaysia, have so far blatantly asked for a resolution of the Kashmir dispute on the basis of the Security Council resolutions of the past that are still valid and applicable.

Read more: India responds to PM Khan in UNGA: Repeats the old narrative & avoids Kashmir?

To sum up Imran Khan’s emphatic New York diplomatic tour and how he has become an ambassador for them, I firmly believe that people of Kashmir have a strong reason to continue their resistance against the occupied forces and intensify their freedom struggle. The main reason being that they feel now there is finally a leader in Pakistan that is willing not just to take a big risk for them but go the extra mile no matter what the cost and a solution to Kashmir issue is.


Before I discuss Islamaphobia and regardless of whether the emissary was profoundly political, the message delivered by Imran Khan was a humanistic one that no one can turn a deaf ear to.

Talking on this topic is not only difficult in Muslim countries itself let alone on the global stage required increasingly centered perceptions around the distinction in observation between the Western and Islamic universes which Imran Khan laid it out plainly that everyone is able to grasp the true picture.

To explicitly explain to the west the love for our Prophet (PBUH) Imran Khan said, “It is important to understand this. The Prophet lives in our hearts, when he is ridiculed, when he’s insulted, it hurts.”

Mr. Modi without mentioning Pakistan said, “We believe, that this is one of the biggest challenges, not for any single country, but for the entire world and humanity. And that is why, for the sake of humanity, I firmly believe, that it is absolutely imperative, that the world unites against terrorism.

The words that most resonated I think with everyone are, “We human beings understand one thing: The pain of the heart is far, far, far more hurtful than physical pain.”

By giving past examples Imran Khan clearly stated that “During World War II, Japan deployed kamikaze pilots as suicide bombers. “No one blamed the religion.”

Therefore, as a result, fear-mongering, radicalism, and suicide bombings have a place with no religion or possibly not to one religion solely.

He further added that “after 9/11 attacks suicide attacks and Islam were equated.” I believe he rightly blamed Muslim leaders who had failed after the 9/11 attacks to explain, “No religion preaches radicalism”.

Mostly importantly Imran Khan touched the right chords by drawing a parallel to what the west sees a red line regarding the Holocaust that is a very sensitive issue and very rightly so because it causes the Jewish community anguish and pain, as a result, we only ask to treat our Holy Prophet (PBUH) the same way.

Financial Corruption/Money Laundering

For decade’s corruption and money laundering has been one the main causes of Pakistan’s inability to sustain growth without the help of international financial donors and as a result had to surrender some of its sovereignty in one way or the other.

Imran Khan’s party PTI came into government on the pretext that they will eliminate corruption and stop the looted wealth of Pakistanis siphoned abroad. But the irony is that many western countries where our and other third world countries corrupt politicians park their black money give them protection and it’s almost next to impossible to get back the looted wealth.

So Imran Khan very rightly touched on the subject and put it plain and simple to the western countries that give refuge to these corruption people and their wealth.

Imran khan elaborated how money laundering and financial corruption are further impoverishing the developing countries such as Pakistan and the west needs to help Pakistan tackle this.

Climate Change

Climate change is an issue that is affecting everyone that’s why it was a major theme at the UN this year and the irony is that there is no escaping from it, like some people who call it a hoax.

The people who call it a hoax or the ones that are so much concerned about their economic growth and development that in the process they are increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are on the rise, and what kind of legacy the world leaders of developed countries are going to leave for their younger generations.

Some scientists believe that emissions have to start reducing before the end of next year, or we are likely to pass the tipping point leading to uncontrolled climate change.

Because last year global carbon emissions increased by 2.7%, hitting a record high of 37.1 bn tones.

The worst is that a young teenage girl from Sweden Greta Thunberg had to come to the UN to tell the world leaders to take concrete steps regarding climate change before it’s too late.

Imran Khan also spoke of Pakistan’s melting glaciers and how it will affect India & Pakistan alike as well as the PTI’s billion-tree plantation in KP province and the new milestone is 10 billion-trees.

What Now

From here on what happens about the ongoing Kashmir issue is how eloquently Pakistan conducts its diplomatic business but more so what step India takes and as a result the reaction of the Kashmiri people. As Imran Khan said there is no doubt that there is going to be a reaction from them and Pakistan needs to keep the issue alive and persuade the world power to resolve the issue according to UN resolutions.

If India either escalates the abductions, tortures, killing of Kashmiris or tries some adventurism on the eastern border, Pakistan first of all need to take the countries into confidence that have spoken in favor of Kashmir issue at the UNGA and secondly ask them to raise the issue in a sense that where the international community cannot be a spectator anymore and they have to interject to stop India’s evil designs and entangle the whole world into chaos.

Read more: This 16 year old is the foremost climate activist in the world

The whole world knows that Imran Khan is an honest, dedicated, charismatic and articulate leader that’s why only being in power just over an year American president Trump trusts him to resolve the Afghan peace process and along with Crown Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia has asked Imran Khan to ease the tensions with Iran.

There is no doubt that deescalation between Iran, the west (US) and Saudi Arabia is also in our national interest for many reason and if Imran Khan uses his cordial relations with all the parties to normalize the relations then not only it improves Pakistan image as peacemaker but can use this leverage to help resolve the Kashmir issue.

Regarding Islamophobia the recent initiative by Pakistan, Turkey, and Malaysia to jointly start an English language channel dedicated to confronting the challenges posed by Islamophobia and setting the record straight on our great religion Islam will help said, Imran Khan.

He further elaborated that, “Misperceptions which bring people together against the Muslims would be corrected; the issue of blasphemy would be properly contextualized; series and films would be produced on Muslim history to educate/inform our own people & the world; Muslims would be given a dedicated media presence.”

I think the government needs to change the mindset of people in Pakistan and suggest some proposal to the world community to adapt and adhere to.

Also I am hopeful that after Imran Khan’s this performance Pakistan be able to use the forum of OIC and GCC more effectively.

Regarding the financial corruption/money laundering, Pakistan needs to strictly adhere to FATF guidelines and close any loopholes that still exist on a priority basis as not to get into the blacklist. Also, Pakistan needs to have more bilateral agreements with other countries on the repatriation of people who fled Pakistan on corruption charges and also their wealth/properties.

Regarding climate change, Pakistan is doing its bit and have to up the ante how to stop illegal deforestation, waste of groundwater and of course how to overcome the melting of glaciers that are a natural source of water.

For instance the groundwater levels are now falling at a rate of about 2.5 to 3 feet (0.7 to 0.9 meters) a year in Lahore, according to WWF-Pakistan. New conservation measures regarding water and waste need to be put in place with strict rules and regulation adhere to.

Also Pakistan needs more dams for the water reservoir and add more hydel energy as well as renewable energy into its grid.

No matter which side of the aisle you sit in government benches, which religion or country you belong to, you have to give credit to Imran Khan for his 4-point speech and especially how he delivered the case of helpless Kashmiris who have lost countless lives over the years.

India has deliberately thrown the UN resolutions in the bin and the world has been quiet about it for so long is even more alarming but not anymore and they know it the Kashmir issue cannot remain on the back burner for longer.

How Imran Khan tried to bridge the gap between the west and Islam is so much commendable and deserve all the applause we can give him for now.