Pakistan Kashmir Rhetoric and Aftermath: UNGA 2019

A euphoria was created by Pakistan on abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) prior to 74th session of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA). The Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned politician insisted that he would do his best to bring attention to an almost two-months curfew and communications blackout imposed in Kashmir by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite of he being not very optimistic about any positive outcome from UNGA. Hopelessness and desperation was evident from his statement “I have come to New York especially for Kashmir. Everything else is secondary. The world doesn’t realise that we are heading for a big disaster.”

Imran Khan’s Rhetoric

Imran Khan had delivered his speech on September 27, 2019, an emotional outburst, on expected lines – Kashmir centric. Regardless of protocol, decorum, sanctity of the highest forum of the world, he continued with Kashmir rhetoric for 50 minutes against earmarked 15 minutes and also not acknowledging the ‘Chair’ at the end of his speech. Imran Khan insisted that he wasn’t making a threat but at the same time he warned the world of a nuclear war. 

He said “When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world.” “That’s not a threat,” he said of his war comments. “It’s a fair worry. Where are we headed?” Hitting at his Indian counterpart, Mr Narender Modi, he said “What’s he going to do when he lifts the curfew? Does he think the people of Kashmir are quietly going to accept the status quo?” Khan said. “What is going to happen when the curfew is lifted will be a bloodbath.” He added: “They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do? They will shoot them, Kashmiris will be further radicalized.”

Indian Response

Contrary to Imran Khan’s Kashmir rhetoric, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the U.N. meeting with a speech that focused primarily on his country’s development, though he warned the world of the menace of terrorism and urged the International community to unite and stand against terrorism and countries engaged in harbouring terrorism without mentioning the name of Pakistan directly.

Vidisha Maitra, First Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, while exercising India’s right of reply to Khan’s speech, gave a stern reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at UNGA calling it “hate speech” and “brinksmanship, not statesmanship.” She further added that “Rarely has the General Assembly witnessed such misuse — abuse — of the opportunity.” She accused Khan of hypocrisy and said his words “reflect a medieval mindset and not a 21st-century vision.”

Viewpoint

Imran Khan’s speech at UNGA has done more harm than any significant achievement. He tried to widen the gap among the world community based on ethnicity and his condemnation of Islamophobia has put Pakistan on back foot since minorities such as Ahmadis, Shiite Muslims, Hindus, Christians are subjected to violence for their religious beliefs in Pakistan. The credibility of Pakistan has come under the lens after Pakistan voted against a resolution calling for an extension of the UN investigation into war crimes in Yemen and ignoring the plight of Uighur Muslims in China. Pakistan’s rhetoric of ‘nuclear war’ will definitely go against the country as there is growing unease in global community about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.  

Pakistan today stands isolated at world stage, as it was not able to win even the support of 16 members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to present a resolution highlighting the Kashmir issue. Imran Khan failed to mobilise world opinion on Kashmir issue as no country except Turkey and Malaysia, even issued a formal statement at UNGA. The lines from Macbeth “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” aptly describe the speech of Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan at UNGA 2019.

04 Oct 19/Friday                                     Written by Fayaz