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Citizen Voices

Here’s Why Imran Khan’s Remarks Against Islamophobia Were Hypocritical

“Charity begins at home.”

Guess who has not heard of this before? Our Prime Minister, Imran Khan.

Amidst the chaos, Pakistan once again voted “NO” for UN intervention against human rights violation in Yemen. But the PM was vocal against the Indian violations in Kashmir during his UNGA speech on Friday last week.

The PM is being applauded by the nation for speaking against Islamophobia and some are hailing him as leader of the Muslim Ummah. While he rightly spoke against the atrocities that the Kashmiris are facing, the plight of Uyghur, Syrian, and Yemeni Muslims has yet again been ignored. This shows we are selective in our condemnation of human rights violation.

That Kashmir is in dire need of UN intervention after a cruel lock-down by the Indian government is a well-known fact. In the name of development, a large population of 8 million Kashmiris is deprived of their basic human rights and necessities, while the international community remains tight-lipped.

Earlier this month, before the commencement of UNGA session, Pakistan assured that it has international support on Kashmir resolution and will be able to submit it with supporting signatures. Unfortunately, it was proved to be a false claim as Pakistan failed to get the minimum number of 16 members.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureishi, reportedly, made 3 attempts to convince the OIC but all in vain. Pakistan only managed to get Turkey and Iran’s support.

As much as the nation looked up to its Arab brethren to raise their voice in favour of Kashmir, all they got from them is a private jet of MBS to carry PM Imran Khan to New York for attending UNGA. It is indeed a great show of brotherhood but without any benefit to 8 million locked-out Kashmiris. 

PM Imran Khan made a remarkable speech at UNGA 2019, divided into 4 points which included climate change, corruption (of course), Islamophobia, and Kashmir.

We must applaud his sequence of topics because it kind of built his speech blocks.

We know, your heart is in the right place. Hence, you could have done without your extempore display of speech, Mr. Prime Minister.

Throughout his US trip, PM Imran Khan has made it loud and clear that the Pakistan Army was involved in the training of Mujahideens, later turned into Taliban and Al-Qaeda. This repetitive emphasis has made international/national media speculate his on-the-record support for the Taliban, and an obvious harboring at home.

The PM should have chosen his words wisely.

Meanwhile, despite the continuous public reminders and Friday ‘standing ups’, the UNGA session was not focused on the Kashmir issue.

The speech began with a mandatory I-am-doing-a-favor to this world and invalidating the struggle of several other countries such as Afghanistan, Ecuador, Iraq, Lebanon, Venezuela, Syria, and Yemen. The kindness we expect the world to show us is only possible if we bestow it on them as well.

Climate change was indeed a positive and polite pick-up note, for which we really admire our prime minister and his isolated efforts in a single province of Pakistan. But the initiative needs to be expanded.

In case you are not aware of the time constraint, every UNGA speaker has a maximum of 15 minutes whereas Pakistani PM Imran Khan took a little over 50 minutes. But UNGA was polite and just kept on beeping the red light situated in front of the podium.

This is not the first time, Pakistan has raised its voice for Kashmir.

We must remember the actual historic speech of Sir Zafarullah Khan at UNGA which led the UN to have Kashmir resolution. Speeches at forums like UNGA should act as a catalyst of significant change and not mere motivation.

The speech contained unnecessary mention of RSS and Modi’s background which is no news. The ongoing situation in Kashmir should have been discussed with facts and figures from several independent and Indian news outlets to support the Kashmir resolution itself.

PM Imran Khan also spoke about how cruel occupation of forces can turn an innocent boy into a terrorist. He empathized and portrayed himself in the same situation for the audience’s better understanding.

While he uttered the bitter truth, thousands of Pashtuns, Baloch, Muhajirs, and religious minorities looked in amazement that why they were forced to disappear. With a man of such stature and dignity, they should be served justice, if not at their doorstep, at least in their lifetime.

The same day as our PM gave a heartening speech in UNGA, back home protests were happening in Peshawar. Several doctors gathered in KP province to protest against regional and district authorities act. Provincial police used force against the protesters, resulting in many injured doctors. The immediate imposition of Article 144 took place at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar barring more than5 doctors to gather at one place.

Few days before UNGA began, a human rights activist Gulalai Ismail had to flee Pakistan and file asylum in the US, because of her activism with Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

Three days before the speech, Amnesty International urged Pakistan government to release a Fulbright scholar Junaid Hafeez. Mr. Hafeez was a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakaria University and has been kept in solitary confinement since Jun ’14 over false blasphemy charges.

In all fairness, a Pakistani like myself cannot help but wonder if Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech was all preach and not practice.


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