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UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Imran Khan used his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday to warn the international community that India was planning another “ill-conceived misadventure” in a “nuclearised environment,” but Pakistan was ready to “fight for its freedom to the end”.
The prime minister also urged the UN Security Council to play its role in preventing this dangerous conflict, which could jeopardise the entire region.
“In order to divert attention from its illegal actions and atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India is playing a dangerous game of upping the military ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised strategic environment,” he said.
Mr Khan informed the world body that despite constant Indian provocations and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary targeting innocent civilians, Pakistan had exercised maximum restraint. “We have consistently sensitised the world community about a ‘false flag’ operation and another ill-conceived misadventure by India,” he added.
The prime minister said that while his parents were born in the colonial India, his was the first generation that grew up in an independent Pakistan. “I want to make it clear that any attempt by the fascist totalitarian RSS-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan will be met by a nation that will fight for its freedom to the end,” he declared.
“The Security Council must prevent a disastrous conflict and secure the implementation of its own resolutions [on Kashmir] as it did in the case of East Timor,” he said.
The warning follows heightened tensions between the two South Asian neighbours that began last year when India bombed an abandoned school in Balakot. India followed up the bombing with more aggressions that ended only when Pakistan brought down an Indian aircraft and arrested its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Pakistan returned the pilot on March 1, 2019 as a gesture of peace, but on Aug 5 that year India illegally annexed held Kashmir and since then it has been constantly firing across the LoC.
Referring to these incidents, Prime Minister Khan told the 75th UNGA that there would be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was resolved on the basis of international legitimacy.
“Kashmir has been rightly described as a ‘nuclear flash point’,” he said, noting that the UN Security Council has considered the situation in Jammu and Kashmir three times in the past year.
“It must take appropriate enforcement actions. It must also take steps to protect the Kashmiris from an impending genocide by India,” he said.
Pakistan, he said, had always called for a peaceful solution. But for peace to prevail, India must rescind the measures it has instituted since Aug 5, 2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations, and agree to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people, he added.
The prime minister said Pakistan’s desire for peace in the region was also manifest in its efforts to promote a political solution in Afghanistan. “I have consistently maintained over the past two decades that there is no military solution to the decades-old-conflict in Afghanistan,” he said. “The only way forward was and is a political settlement which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors.”
Mr Khan pointed out that Pakistan “fully facilitated the process” that culminated in the US-Taliban peace agreement on Feb 29 this year. “Pakistan is deeply gratified that it has fulfilled its part of the responsibility. The Afghan leaders must now seize this historic opportunity to achieve reconciliation and restore peace in their war-torn country,” he said.
The prime minister urged Afghan leaders to use the intra-Afghan negotiations, which commenced on Sept 12, to work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. The process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and without any interference or outside influence, he added.
Mr Khan also emphasised the need for early return of Afghan refugees which, he said, must be a part of the political solution.
In an indirect reference to India, the prime minister warned: “After almost two decades of war, it is imperative not to allow ‘spoilers’ within and outside Afghanistan — to subvert the peace process.”
Peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said, would open new opportunities for development and regional connectivity and new vistas of cooperation could emerge with Central Asia and beyond.
Attacks on Muslims
The prime minister also urged the international community to avoid blaming Muslims for every bad incident in the world, to stop ridiculing their religious personalities and not to desecrate their religious places.
He noted that such attacks on Muslims were happening across the globe, but said there’s one country that had institutionalised it, India. “The one country in the world today, where the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India. The reason behind this is RSS ideology that unfortunately rules India today,” he said.
Giving the background of hate against Muslims in India, he said this extremist ideology was founded in the 1920s when RSS founding fathers, inspired by the Nazis, adopted the concepts of racial purity and supremacy.
“While the Nazis hate was directed at the Jews, the RSS directs it towards the Muslims and to a lesser extent towards the Christians. They believe that India is exclusive for Hindus and others are not equal citizens. The secularism of Gandhi and Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra by subjugating, even cleansing India’s 200 million Muslims and other minorities,” he added.
Mr Khan noted that in Assam around two million Muslims were marked out for discrimination and many were now confined to large concentration camps. “Muslims were falsely blamed, vilified and victimised for spreading the Corona virus. They were denied medical attention on many occasions, their businesses were boycotted. Cow vigilantes attack and kill Muslims with impunity. Last February, Muslims faced targeted killings, with police complicity in New Delhi,” he said.
Noting that mass registrations in the past have often been a precursor to genocide, such as the Nuremburg Laws in Germany in 1935 and then in 1982 in Myanmar, the prime minister urged the international community to put an end to this practice.
He warned that the Hindutva ideology was set to marginalise almost 300 million human beings — Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. “This is unprecedented in history and does not augur well for the future of India as we all know that marginalisation of human beings leads to radicalisation,” he added.
The prime minister reminded world leaders that for over 72 years, India had illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and in blatant violation of the resolutions of the Security Council and its own commitments.
He pointed out that on Aug 5 last year, India illegally and unilaterally sought to change the status of the occupied territories and deployed additional troops, bringing the total number to 900,000, to impose a military siege on eight million Kashmiris.
He also highlighted the grave human rights violations India has committed in Kashmir since August last year: incarceration of Kashmiri leaders; abduction of about 13,000 Kashmiri youth; torturing; imposition of day and night curfew, and total communications blackout. He also mentioned the use of brute force by Indian occupation forces, including using pellet guns against peaceful protestors, imposing collective punishments, destruction of entire neighbourhoods, and extra-judicial murder of hundreds of innocent Kashmiris.
He noted that Indian forces even refused to hand over their bodies for burial while the Kashmiri media was prevented from reporting these atrocities. “All of this is well documented in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, communications from the Special Rapporteurs of Human Rights Council, statements from human rights and civil society organisations,” the prime minister said.
The international community, he said, must investigate these grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity, being perpetrated, with complete impunity.
Mr Khan said that the objective of this brutal campaign was to impose what the RSS-BJP regime has itself called the ‘Final Solution’ for Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is an attempt to obliterate the distinct Kashmiri identity in order to affect the outcome of a plebiscite envisaged in the UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.
He told the world body that the brave Kashmiri people would never submit to Indian occupation and oppression. “Their struggle is indigenous. They are fighting for a just cause and generation after generations have laid down their lives to rid themselves of Indian occupation.”
He said the government and people of Pakistan were committed to standing by and supporting their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination.
Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2020