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Experts Weigh In On PM Khan’s ‘Historic’ UNGA Speech

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Prime Minister Imran Khan made his much-anticipated UN General Assembly speech on Friday, which has mostly received positive reaction with people calling it ‘historic’.

But did the prime minister manage to convince the international community to intervene and stop the Indian atrocities in Kashmir following the revocation of Article 370? Naya Daur spoke to foreign policy analysts to get their views on the PM’s speech.

Was PM’s Nuclear War Warning Unnecessary?

Some critics have said that the PM should not have issued the warning of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan because it served to negate his commitment to peace. Journalist Nasim Zehra disagrees.

Talking to Naya Daur, she said that in explaining the dangers of the continued suppression of the 8 million Kashmiris and the Modi-Amit-Douval plan to reduce Kashmiri majority into a minority, the PM had to spell out where it could end up.

“At the UNGA, it was his responsibility to spell out the dangers clearly and to not mince his words while doing so. It was not, as the PM said, a threat, but indeed an unadulterated warning,” Nasim further said.

Security analyst Ayaz Amir, when asked to comment on PM’s nuclear war warning, said that his statement should not be seen without its context. He said that Imran did not make the statement all at once but gave a description of the situation in Kashmir before making the comment.

“He apprised global leaders that following the lifting of the curfew, there would be a bloodbath, which would raise tensions between India and Pakistan, and Pakistan would be pushed to survival. In that context, his comments were suitable,” Ayaz told Naya Daur.

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Meanwhile, some critics have stated that the PM’s speech was no different than his ‘jalsa speeches’ and that he spent a lot of time on relatively unimportant issues.

Regarding this criticism, academic Qamar Cheema was of the view that the content of the speech revolved around those topics that were relevant internationally and hence were suitable for a global audience. He added that climate change and money laundering are multilateral issues and were therefore suitable for a speech made to a global audience.

PM’s Remarks On Islamophobia In Context Of Rights Abuses Back Home

Observers had opined that Imran Khan’s discussion about Islamophobia was hypocritical as Pakistan’s record of upholding the rights of minorities was poor. Qamar was of the view that though incidents may occur, but the state and civil society in Pakistan is never complicit in this case. He continued, “On the other hand, the Indian state was clearly complicit in the human rights violations in Kashmir.”

Others had also argued that it would have been better to apprise global leadership about the steps Pakistan had taken to safeguard minority rights.

Nasim Zehra opined that Pakistan’s track record on human rights called for great improvement. However, the UNGA platform was not a report card for presenting national performance but one where leaders should articulate their vision and concern about issues of global nature, which the world must address collectively. She stated that Imran Khan accordingly raised those issues.

Regarding the question that whether Imran Khan had sufficiently spoken about the Kashmir issue and whether his speech would have an impact, Qamar said that international pressure was already building against India regarding the Kashmir issue, and the PM’s speech served to further highlight the situation.

Nasim Zehra was of the view that the speech certainly created a greater awareness about the Kashmir issue in terms of the injustice and illegality of targeting the Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir and also a potentially explosive security situation within the region and beyond.

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She added that whether the speech would be able to alter international policies on Indian occupation and imprisonment of the Kashmiris is yet to be demonstrated. She added, “We have however seen Turkey, Malaysia and China did raise in their speeches the question of Indian occupation and Kashmiri right to self-determination, very directly.”

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