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Imran Khan’s Speech Indicated The Importance Of Kashmir Issue To The World

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Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly deserved a standing ovation. It seemed as if the speech was not being delivered by a head of state but by a scholar who is well-versed in the divide between the east and west and acquainted with the spillover effects of Islamophobia in the West.

Imran Khan’s speech raised the emerging issue of climate change and how the South Asian region would most likely be affected by its adverse consequences. Last but not least, the way he addressed the issue of Kashmir not only helped the entire world community understand the issue, but also for the first time, successfully brought the issue into the limelight. No other government has been able to address the Kashmir issue at the international forum with such precision like the current government.

Imran Khan’s speech has indicated to the world community that if they did not pay heed to the resolution of the Kashmir issue and instead focused on their trade interests with India, it was going to herald catastrophic consequences for the entire region.

His speech highlighted that if the realist perspective or realpolitik approach has to prevail in international relations and if economics was the sole factor that would determine foreign policy, then the world was going to witness a nuclear war.

Most people unnecessarily criticise the United Nations as being nothing more than a debating club and have argued that the speech would not bring a momentous change in the world’s view of India. This is absolutely a wrong notion because an effective and coherent speech not only highlights the importance of the issue but also uplifts the morale of the entire nation.

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Prime Minister’s speech in this hour of need demonstrated that the Kashmir issue could not be put on the back burner and its failure to be resolved amicably would be the failure of the international community.

The part of the speech about climate change was commendable. It explicitly made a reference to the efforts of the developed world in order to counter this emerging threat. However, much needs to be done at home regarding the matter. The present government must enhance the capacity of Punjab Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on those industrial establishments which are deliberately conducting their business in residential areas without the endorsement of authorities. This is partly due to the fact that district officers of the agency are professionally dishonest and have failed to perform their statutory obligations while acting in connivance with industrial owners. The expanding influence of corporatocracy is preventing the government from functioning effectively.

It reminds us of the book – The Scope of Happiness – authored by Lakshmi Pandit, sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. Lakshmi severely criticized the then government of Indra Gandhi, after she imposed an emergency across India. Indra Gandhi, as explained by Lakshmi Pandit, was always very insecure and vindictive. In one of her speeches in Lok Sabha, Laksmi Pandit described the cabinet of Indra Gandhi as ‘prisoners of indecision’ on account of their incompetence and incapacity to administrate. This has always been the tragedy of South Asian countries, where people at the helm of the affairs have been insecure, incompetent and timid. Thus, instead of assuming collective responsibility, they become prisoners of indecision.

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