Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech in the 74th session of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 September 2019 could easily be categorized as hysterical outburst of a desperate leader and head of a state. He reportedly spoke for about fifty minutes as against allotted time of fifteen minutes despite constant reminder of time overrun from the UNGA officials. This itself does not auger well and shows his ignorance and disregard for the highest office representing the international community. Of the total time taken by him, almost half of his speech fiercely revolved around India and Kashmir, drumming up a hysteria of possible conventional war between two neighbours leading to a nuclear holocaust in the sub-continent with implications on world.
In his maiden address at the UNGA, Imran Khan unleashed a tirade against India with his speech revolving around Indian Prime Minister (by name), anti-India diatribe and alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. This also reflected on his poor knowledge and understanding of the history of the sub-continent and own people. According to statisticians and record keepers, Imran Khan uttered ‘Kashmir' at least 25 times, ‘India’ 17 times, ‘Islam’ 71 times, ‘Modi’ 12 times and ‘terrorism’ 28 times, while frequently using objectionable terms for the Indian leader and nation. He did all this in sheer contrast to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in his a little over sixteen minute speech in UNGA preceding him, did not mention Pakistan or its leadership even once.
Imran Khan’s address included subjects like Kashmir, Islamophobia, money laundering and climate change. While his talk on the last two subjects was just casual lacking any depth or content, he basically focused on the first two issues brazenly with no holds barred. On Kashmir, he forecasted, rather threatened, a bloodbath when India lifts (his alleged) “inhuman” curfew. According to him, eight million Kashmiri women children, sick people are locked like animals, and it's arrogance that has blinded him (Modi) from the fact that...what is going to happen when the curfew is lifted. He suggested that all this may force a conventional war between India and Pakistan and in that case they (Pakistan) would fight and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end it would have consequences far beyond the borders, and it would have serious consequences for the world.
Speaking on Muslims and radical Islam, Imran Khan squarely blamed some Western countries without naming them for creating Islamophobia. He held that certain Western leaders equated terrorism with Islam, by labeling their religion as “radical Islam”. With this, these leaders have created an association between a whole religion and terrorism leading to Islamophobia in the world. In European countries, it is marginalizing Muslims, and this leads to radicalization. Some of the terrorists were from marginalized Muslim communities. If the religion is casted radical, how people in different parts of the world would distinguish between moderate and radical Muslims. He said that the Islamophobia has grown at an alarming pace since 9/11 (Al Queda attack on World Trade Centre, USA). Here again he seriously lacks knowledge of history and current scenario, or deliberately overlooks, where fanatics and radical elements in clergy, politics, military and even professional fields in his own country are actively promoting ideology like Gazwa-e-Hind and terrorism in the name of jihad.
Imran Khan blamed Western countries and India for the marginalization of Muslims in various parts of world including Kashmir, which, according to him, is leading to radicalization and consequent terrorist incidents. He also stated that Muslim women wearing hijabs has become an issue in some countries as if a hijab is some kind of weapon. This is also happening because of Islamophobia. Issuing a veiled threat to the entire world community, Imran Khan said, “If the conventional war starts with a country which is seven times the size of Pakistan (reflects poor knowledge of geography), what will we do? This is what I ask myself a lot of times. But I say this, we will fight but think what happens when two nuclear countries fight."
Notwithstanding his blackmail and sort of open threat, there are no takers of the Pakistani version and rhetoric in the world except few countries like China and Turkey, which passively or actively support it for their political and tactical reasons. Ever since India removed temporary special status of her state of Jammu & Kashmir in August 2019 which is an internal matter of a sovereign country, Pakistani Prime Minister and other leaders have gone berserk, escalating tension on border and trying to internationalize the issue untiringly through anti-India campaign and false propaganda. In the past and now, India has ruled out any scope for any third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.
Exercising its right to reply, India responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan's diatribe at UNGA, which was the culmination of the only agenda that he carried and vigorously pursued at various multi and bi-lateral forums during his weeklong stay in New York during the current UNGA session. Reply was addressed by a middle level Indian diplomat who effectively rebutted all false charges and claims made by Pakistani premier in his speech. She inter alia stated that but for this occasion, the UNGA has rarely witnessed such misuse, rather abuse, of an opportunity to reflect and that Prime Minister Khan’s threat of unleashing nuclear devastation qualified as brinksmanship, not statesmanship. She also mentioned how the size of minority communities in Pakistan, which now talks about human rights, has shrunk from 23% at the time of independence to about 3% today, and how Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis have been subjected to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions.
Certainly, the citizens of India do not need anyone else to speak on their behalf, least of all those who have built an industry of terrorism from the ideology of hate. The princely state of Jammu & Kashmir decided to lawfully integrate with India in 1947 when Pakistan invaded it despite an operational “Standstill Agreement”. It is now part of history that can neither be erased nor reversed. If at all any issue remains, it is the fate of the portion of the state that was forcibly occupied by Pakistan in 1947. The Two-Nation theory propagated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his party based on religion had failed with the creation of Pakistan itself and it cannot be basis for another division of India. Today, Muslim population has grown in India almost to the level of Pakistan's population with many districts having a majority of Muslims, and further division of the country on the basis of religion cannot be accepted.
It’s a fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan, other Pakistani ministers and army have recently been very restless and given nuclear threat to India on many occasions. No other leadership of Pakistan, including civil and military, have ever used this threat in the past at this scale and so unambiguous term. Now Imran Khan has chosen this threat at the world's highest forum to blackmail international community perhaps in a desperate attempt to mobilize support on Kashmir issue. Internal situation of Pakistan, both political and economic, has never been as bad and desperate as it is now. He himself has admitted that the country has taken so much debt during the last ten years that about half of their earnings are going to repayment and it is difficult to meet even domestic establishment expenditure. It is not a secret that Pakistan is an Islamic Republic only for the name shake and real power rests with the military. This is a dangerous situation; after all there are many instances in the world when unstable domestic circumstances have compelled the failing autocratic regimes to take recourse to adventures, even in terms of waging war on other countries.
Imran Khan's address in the UNGA could easily be categorized as a "hate speech" as has rightly been done by the young Indian diplomat in India's subsequent reply. Another dimension is that, irrespective of their real intention, the earlier rulers of Pakistan used the nuclear threat occasionally more as a political tool to garner support and popularity from masses while Khan has adopted anti-India rhetoric on Kashmir in a mission mode at a time when Pakistan is at all time precarious state politically, socially and economically; hence the same threat appear more dangerous and real. Constant failure and defeat cause disappointment and desperation equally for the individuals and nation. Desperate people are known to employ desperate means to overcome the situation often leading to disaster. Therefore, Indian political leadership and armed forces need to remain vigilant, and on maximum alert and readiness, for the next few months with a view to timely detect and counter any possible misadventure or aggression from the bellicose and belligerent neighbour.
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