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‘Inhuman Curfew’: Kashmir the Focus of Imran Khan’s UNGA Speech

Imran Khan warned if there’s a face-off between two nuclear-armed neighbours, the consequences would be far beyond.

Updated
World
3 min read

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, 27 September, devoted a significant part of his maiden address to the UN General Assembly to the Kashmir issue, demanding that India must lift the “inhuman curfew” in Kashmir and release all “political prisoners”.

In his speech that went on for about 50 minutes, exceeding the 15-minute limit for UN speeches during the General Debate, Khan warned that if there’s a face-off between two nuclear-armed neighbours, the consequences would be far beyond their borders.

Here are the highlights from his speech:

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The Kashmir Issue

In his address to the UNGA, Imran Khan spoke at length about India's decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the government's move to put in place a communication lockdown.

"What is the world community going to do. Is it going to appease a market of 1.2 billion, or is it going to stand up for justice and humanity," the Pakistani prime minister was quoted by PTI as saying.

“...This is the time to take action. And number one action must be that India must lift the inhuman curfew. It must free all political prisoners.”
Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Once the curfew is lifted, there will be a “bloodbath” in Kashmir and it can further “radicalise the Kashmiris”, he warned, adding that the world community must give the people of the region the right of self-determination.

The lifting of the curfew will also be followed by a “reaction” and India will blame Pakistan, Khan went on to say.

"Two nuclear-armed countries will come face to face, like we came in February," he said, in a reference to the stand-off between the two nations following the Pulwama terror attack and India's subsequent air strikes on terror camps in Balakot.

“If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen. A country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice – either you surrender or you fight for your freedom till death.”

In such a scenario, he said, his country will fight. "And when a nuclear armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world, I'm warning you, it's not a threat. It's a fear.”

“And before we head in that direction, the United Nations has a responsibility. This is why the UN came into being in 1945. You were supposed to stop this from happening," he added.

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On Terror Groups in Pakistan

In his speech, Imran Khan said that when he came to power last year, he decided to mend fences with the neighbours and bring peace in the region.

"When we came to power we decided we would dismantle (terror groups)... I know India keeps alleging that these groups are there. I welcome UN observers, see for yourself," Khan was quoted by PTI as saying, as he urged the world body to take note of his action against the terror groups in Pakistan.

Khan also spoke about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), calling PM Modi a life member of the organisation.

Islamophobia, Climate Change Also Figure in Pak PM’s Speech

Apart from Kashmir and the India-Pakistan tensions, the Pakistan prime minister – in his address – touched upon issues such as climate change, money laundering and Islamophobia, reported PTI.

Islamophobia has grown at an alarming pace after the 9/11 attacks and is creating divisions, with wearing of hijab becoming a "weapon" against the community in some countries, Khan said in his address to UNGA on Friday.

“Islamophobia is creating divisions, hijab is becoming a weapon; a woman can take off clothes but she can’t put on more clothes. It started after 9/11 and it started because certain western leaders equated Islam with terrorism.”
Pakistan PM Imran Khan, as quoted by PTI

Khan questioned the use of the term 'radical Islamic terrorism', saying there is only one Islam. "There is no such thing as radical Islam," he said, pointing out that all religions have individuals carrying out radical acts.

"The basis of all religions is compassion and justice, which differentiates us from the animal kingdom," he said.

Speaking about the climate change, Khan said so many leaders talked about the issue, but there was a lack of seriousness.

"We don't realise the urgency of the situation. We have so many ideas but ideas without funding are mere hallucinations," he was quoted as saying.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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