TIC Analysis l
Prime Minister Imran Khan who returned after a 10-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the United States on Sunday reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue supporting the just struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) till they achieve their freedom goal. He asked the people to remember that Pakistan is standing with Kashmir. “Whether the world stands with Kashmiris or not, Pakistan is standing by them. And, we are standing by them because we want to please Allah.”
Speaking of the lockdown which has been in place since August 5 in the occupied Kashmir, he said India has locked eight million people of Kashmir by imposing illegal curfew there. “I want to remind you that a struggle goes through highs and lows. There are good times and bad times, you should not be disappointed. Kashmiris are looking towards you, and God willing, they will win; they will get independence,” the prime minister said.
The high point of his visit was the speech in the United Nations General Assembly which was widely hailed and appreciated by the global community. In nhis nearly 50 minute long speech, the PM elaborated on four main issues Climate Change, Money laundering and Tax havens, Islamophobia and last but not least, the Kashmir dispute.
Climate Change and Corruption
To begin with, the prime minister of Pakistan drew the attention of the world leaders towards the severity of climate change. He urged the world community to make coordinated efforts to take the bull of climate change by horns. He also highlighted that reports of climate change are painting a bleak picture for human survival. Pakistan is among the top ten affected countries despite contributing a little amount in carbon footprint. Khan called on the world community to take urgent measures if this calamity is to be lessened.
Imran Khan also highlighted the need to contain and halt the vicious practices of corruption and money laundering. He said that the leadership in the developed world, when at the helm of affairs, looted and siphoned off public money, and sent it to mostly European countries in the form of offshore companies. This practice enhances the gap between the poor and the rich and becomes a stumbling block in the way of progress and development among the third world and developing countries. Therefore, Prime Minister Khan urged the world leaders to ensure sustainable endeavours to end this venal practice. In this regard Khan emphasized on the phrase “economic refugees” which were borne due to the entrenched poverty born from this practice.
Very importantly, Khan clarified the fallacy of the concept of ‘Islamophobia’. He deftly presented the case of Islam and its true preachers and followers. Khan is of the view that the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ is based on the false notion that Islam teaches extremism and fundamentalism. He further elaborated that if a Muslim around the globe commits a vicious act, it has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. On the other hand, Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, pacifism and equality. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the practical example of Allah’s phenomenal teachings.
Khan pointed out that terrorist and extremist acts carried out in India, Sri Lanka and other parts of the world do not imply that Hinduism or any other religion teaches such nefarious acts. No religion favours an act that creates human misery and pain. An act of an individual must not be linked with his respective religion. There should be respect for others’ religion, which is imperative for peaceful co-existence. Severity of Islamophobia can be gauged around the globe; a woman is allowed to take off her clothes but is not allowed to wear a hijab (veil) because she can be a threat to the security of that country. PM Khan also said that around 1.5 billion Muslims in the world are preaching their religion, which is peaceful in nature, and should not be labelled with any derogatory remarks. He urged the world to refrain from disrespecting Islam.
Kashmir Portion of UNGA Speech
Lastly, the prime minister also shed light on the prevalent tension between Pakistan and India. He stressed that since the PTI government came into power, they continuously extended peace overtures to India, but New Delhi has responded with warmongering and atrocities. These peace gestures were not easy to come by since Pakistan has continously been hit by Indian supported terrorism whose most prominent face can be the arrested Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadev.
Yet it was the act of revoking Article 370 that proved to be the last straw for Islamabad’s continuous drive for peace. The Modi regime in India has unleashed unparallel atrocities on the 8 million people of Occupied Kashmir which would have raised a storm globally if they had been of another ethnicity or faith. He stressed upon the UN’s commitment to uphold the right of self determination for the Kashmiri people as enshrined in several UN resolutions. He also declared Pakistan’s intent to go all out in case of a war which will have global ramifications.
The PM’s other activities
During his 10 day tour, PM Khan who stayed at the PIA owned Roosevelt hotel for austerity measures, met with several heads of states and other figures. He met President of the USA, Prime Minister of the UK, Prime Minister of Norway, Prime Minister of New Zealand, President of Egypt, President of Turkey, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Foreign Minister of China, Foreign Minister of Russian Federation Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Leading Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). He also visited and met the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal. During his visit, Pakistan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation unveiled their collaboration on the Ehsaas Program to Alleviate Poverty through an investment of 200 million dollars.
Collaboration with Turkey and Malaysia
The visit was marked with a high collaboration with the heads of states of both Malaysia and Turkey. The three leaders have decided to jointly launch an English language television channel dedicated to confronting Islamophobia and removing misperceptions about Islam. The role of Malaysia and Turkey, which openly backed Pakistan at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) last week, will be crucial during a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) later this month in Paris. The recent collaboration has given rise to projections that a new Islamic bloc is in the making.
His Indian counterpart had also visited the US for the UNGA. Narendar Modi’s greatest highlight of the trip was the Howdy Modi event in Houston where he was joined by US president Donald Trump. His UNGA speech was not very much highlighted with the Indian media in damage control mode targeting PM Imran’s speech. India media sites have however termed Modi’s visit a failure as he had failed to achieve a trade deal with the US, Kashmir issue was further complicated by continuous mediation offers by Trump and India failed to suppress Kashmir issue on the global level as China, Malaysia and Turkey raised it at the UN.
PM Imran Khan’s visit to the UNGA can be termed highly successful as it managed to achieve the primary objective of highlighting the Kashmir issue at the global stage. It also managed to achieve a closer ties with both Malaysia and Turkey and interactions with Trump forced a more neutral stance of the US in IndoPak relationship. The call for rapid easing of restrictions in Occupied Kashmir is highly relevant in this regard. Pakistan also managed to acquire investments in its welfare program. The UNGA sppech is a very potent perception management exercise that not only highlighted Pakistan’s Kashmir stance but also elevated it to a global voice on various issues such as Climate change, Money laundering and Islamophobia.