PM Imran urges Pakistani Americans to counter Indian lobby, raise voice for Muslims

Updated 29 Dec 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America (APPNA) held in Peshawar on Saturday. — PID
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent in North America (APPNA) held in Peshawar on Saturday. — PID

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged the members of APPNA (Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America) to double down and ramp up their efforts to counter the Indian lobby in the US.

He urged them to raise their voice for Muslims "suffering in Kashmir and India at the hands of the RSS-led BJP government".

The premier's request came during a winter meeting of the medical association held in Peshawar.

He said APPNA is the most powerful and influential Pakistani group overseas. "You are the most educated, with the most awareness."

The premier said that the Pakistan government not only wishes to have an institutional arrangement with APPNA but to have them lobby for the country.

"India's lobby in America right now is far more powerful than Pakistan's. India's point of view always overshadows that of Pakistan and American policies for Pakistan are affected by that viewpoint," he explained.

"What India is doing right now in Kashmir and with Muslims [in India] is in violation of all humanitarian laws and international laws. In the 21st century, we are witnessing a fascist, racist government.

"The programmes they are bringing in are identical to those in Hitler's Nazi Germany when they committed genocide of the Jews. The exact same pattern is being followed by the RSS-led BJP government in India," said PM Imran.

He said that while the Pakistan government has been trying to raise awareness in America on this, the APPNA group will prove instrumental in furthering the cause.

"Raise your voice for Kashmiris who have been suffering for five months in an open prison and not only for that but for the change in demography which is considered a war crime."

The premier said that the Citizenship Amendment Act in India also poses a danger and there is a need for Pakistani Americans to highlight it. "Even enlightened Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis have stood up against an Act whose purpose it is to target Muslims," he said.

Read: 'Now we have woken up' — India's protests: why now?

"I don't think you realise your lobbying strength. It is under utilised," added the premier, urging the group to take advantage of their position in the US.

He warned of India undertaking a false-flag operation in Azad Kashmir to draw attention away from their actions which had for the first time been met with international criticism.

He urged the body to begin raising its voice because the "situation in India will further deteriorate".

"Once this demon is out of the bottle, it will never go back in. This is what history has shown us. When a movement is launched based on hatred [...] the Nazi Party created a Jew register before their genocide and in Myanmar, Muslims were asked to register," he said, calling to attention similar moves being made by India.

"To counter where all this is headed, you must be prepared beforehand and lobby with full force."

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'Corrupt status quo'

The premier also spoke of the government's efforts to tackle the strong resistance to change that was being put up by those who wish for the "old, corrupt ways" to remain. He underscored the importance of reforms with which much-needed quality will be brought to institutions.

"Quality is of extreme importance in Pakistan. Unfortunately, our institutional collapse is due to the fact that our quality has declined when it comes to our educational institutions and hospitals."

He said that was the reason why hospital reforms were being brought in so that quality standards comparable to healthcare institutions abroad can be duplicated in Pakistan.

He regretted that the efforts for reform had been met with a lot of resistance by the status quo. "The status quo or mafia which derives benefit from the old, corrupt system, creates hurdles everywhere."

PM Imran said they dub the reforms as privatisation knowing full well that is not the case. "They purposely do it to sway public opinion and to mobilise people for demonstrations and to sabotage our efforts."

He said due to an overall "decay in the system" it was impossible to find quality healthcare in government hospitals.

"The hospitals have fallen under bureaucratic control and [the bureaucrats] have no idea of what the administrative structure of a modern hospital is."

The prime minister said with the reforms being brought in in Punjab and KP, the aim is for government hospitals to compete with private hospitals.

"We are not privatising. The management structure of private hospitals will be implemented in government hospitals so the common man can avail good quality treatment."

He said the "old, corrupt ways" do not only pose a challenge in the health sector but across all sectors, such as FBR (Federal Board of Revenue), the tax collection machinery which the government is trying to automate.

He said a lot of resistance is always put up when change is brought in. "Which is why I always tell people not to give in to fear. This was bound to happen and we were expecting it."

"There are two types of government. One only wishes to complete their tenure. Our government is one that wishes to bring in reform," said the premier.

He said it was the government's task to withstand pressure and resistance to change, but one thing was clear: Pakistan can never progress without change. "Our corrupt status quo has destroyed our institutions."

The premier said that a lot of governments fear that they will be dissolved and take a back foot when it comes to implementing change.

"I assure you our government will in no way step back from reforms."