Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden speech at the UN General Assembly on 27 September, 2019
There are some very urgent problems which the world must address. First of all I must start with climate change
I feel there is a lack of seriousness…some of the leaders who can do a lot do not realize the urgency of the situation. we have alot of ideas but ideas without funding is mere hallucination. Pakistan is one of the top ten countries most affected by climate change. we depend uppon our rivers. We are mainly an agricultural country and 80 % of the water in our rivers comes from our glaciers, not just on the pakistani side but also India. Eighty per cent of the water in the ganges and other rivers of India also comes from the glaciers, from the Himalayan glaciers, Karakoram, Hindukush, and these glaciers are melting at quite a rapid pace. we have detected 5000 glacier lakes in our mountains. if this continues, humans a facing a huge catastrophe. we are planting billions of trees but one country cannot do anything. This has to be combined effort of the world..
Corrupt ruling elites shold not be able to take out money and park it in foreign bank accounts and properties abroad. Why do we have tax havens and secret accounts.
Islamophbia since 9/11 has grown at a pace which is alarming. Islamophobia is creating a division. Muslim women wearing a hizab.
Islamic terrorism and Islamophobia
Islamophobia started after 9/11 because certain western leaders equated terrorism with Islam, radical Islam. What is radical Islam? There is only one Islam and that is the Islam we follow of Prophet Mohammed.
Radical Islam, Islamic terrorism: what message did they send to the people in the West and why is there Islamophobia. How a person in new York, a person in the mid-west, in the the US, in European countries, how is he going to distinguish between who is a moderate Muslim and who is a radical Muslim because terrorism has nothing to do with any religion.
This Islamic terrorism, Islamic radicalism is sadly used by leaders. This has been the main reason for Islamophobia. It has caused pain among Muslims. We in Muslim countries watch this Islamophobia travelling abroad and it’s getting worse.
In European countries, it is marginalising Muslim communities. And we all know that marginalisation leads to radicalisation. Some of the people who end up as militants in Syria and other places are from marginalised Muslim communities.
My point here is that we must address this issue. I am sad to say that we Muslim leaders have not addressed this issue either.
After 9/11 when there was this war against radical Islam, the Muslim leaders rather than telling (failed to tell) the world that there is no radical Islam. In all human communities there are radicals, liberals and moderate, Christians, Jews, everyone has it. Islam is not radical, neither Judaism, nor Christianity nor Hinduism. No religion preaches radicalism. The basis of all religions is compassion and justice which differentiates us from the animal kingdom. The Muslim leadership was so afraid of being called radical that all of them became moderates.
In Pakistan, we were in the eye of the storm and our government coined the phrase “enlightened moderation”. No one knows what it meant. But everyone started putting on western suits (to convey) they were moderates. Even those who didn’t now English would speak English because they were moderates. No one had a clue what it was. because we in the Muslim world did not explain to the West that there is no such thing as radical Islam.
Because of suicide attacks Islam was equated with terrorism after 9/11. All sorts of theories came up that the Muslims were involved in suicide attacks because they will get virgins in heaven. What about women suicide attackers. So this bizarre thing happened. Suicide attacks and Islam were equated. No one did research that before 9/11, majority of suicide attacks in the world were by Tamil Tigers who were Hindus. No one blamed Hinduism and quite rightly. What has Hindu religion got to do with what desperate people were doing in Sri Lanka. We have seen films about Japanese kamikaze pilots doing suicide attacks in the second World War.
Here we were trying to prove that we were moderates and not explaining to the West.
The misunderstanding about Islam is one of the reasons that caused Islamophobia. In 1989 this book was published -maligning, insulting, ridiculing our Prophet Mohammed and there was a reaction in the Muslim world. The West could not understand what was the problem because in the West, religion is perceived completely differently. They don’t look upon religion like we do and so Islam was supposed to be an intolerant religion, it was against freedom of expression and Islam took a real beating 30 years ago.
I still remember. It became a watershed and every two or three years, someone would malign our Prophet. There would be a reaction by the Muslims and again it was Islam an intolerant religion. I blame a certain section of the people in the West, who deliberately provoked this knowing the impact it would have but the majority of the people in the West did not understand. This is where again the Muslim leadership let the Muslims down. We should have explained to them what the Prophet means to us.
What the Prophet means to us
Our Prophet was witness to the divine book the holy Quran. The holy Quran is the book of guidance to the Muslims and the Prophet’s life was living the Quran. He was an example of what the Quran guided us to be. So, he is the ideal we all try to get to. The Prophet created the State of Madina -the first State in Islam. That state was the basis of the Muslim civilisation which became the predominant civilisation for the next 700 years. And what was that State. I hear such strange things about Islam that it is against women, it is against minorities. The first State of Islam in Madina, was the first time a welfare state was set up. The State took responsibility for the weak, orphans, poor people, and the handicapped. It taxed the rich and spent the money on the poor. The state announced that all human beings are children of Adam and hence equal -whatever the color of the skin. The State announced, the Prophet announced, when the whole system depended on slavery as it did for many years in the western societies, that one of the greatest deeds is to set free a slave…..slaves became kings. Mamluks ruled Egypt. In India there were slave dynasties. And then it is said that Islam is against minorities. Let me make this clear. The Prophet announced that everyone is free to practice his religion. It was the sacred duty to protect the places of worship of all religions. He announced that every person is equal in front of law, whatever his religion or colour and this incredible case – and I always quote this – that the fourth Khalifa, the head of State of Madina, he lost a court case against a Jewish citizen. So it showed there was rule of law. No one was above law and that a Jewish citizen was an equal citizen.
So when a Muslim society is unjust to its minorities, it is going against the religion of Islam and our Prophet.
It is important to understand this. The Pophet lives in our hearts. When he is ridiculed, insulted, it hurts – as we humans know – we human beings understand one thing, the pain of the heart is far more hurtful than physical pain. And that’s why the Muslims react. And I always thought if I have the stage, I will explain this to the world community, especially to the western community. When I first went as a teenager to England, there was a comedy film on Jesus Christ. It is unthinkable in Muslim societies. We need to explain that in a human community we must be sensitive to what causes pain among human beings.
In western society the holocaust is treated with sensitivity because it gives the Jewish community pain. That’s all we ask. Do not use freedom of speech to cause us pain by insulting our holy Prophet. That’s all we want.
The most critical point
The reason why I especially came here. It is about what is happening in Kashmir. before I go on this, I want to make one thing clear that when we came to power, my first priority was that Pakistan would be a country which will try its best to bring peace. We have been through this war on terror. We joined the US war on terror after 2001 and Pakistan went through one of its worst period where 70, 000 Pakistanis died and over a 150 billion were lost to our economy. I opposed the war because in the 80s Pakistan had joined the western countries in what was the freedom struggle then in Afghanistan against the Soviets and it was funded by the western countries. These Mujahideen groups which were trained in guerilla warfare were trained by Pakistan Army, funded by the western countries, and especially the US. And they waged what was the freedom struggle in Afghanistan. The Soviets called them terrorists. We called them freedom fighters. 1989, the Socviets retreated, the Americans packed up and left. Pakistan was left with these groups. Come 9/11, Pakistan joined the United States in this war on terror and now the reason why I oppose joining this war because here we had indoctrinated them in Jihad, meaning freedom struggle against foreign occupation. Because we had joined the US and the US had occupied Afghanistan, now we were supposed to tell them that this is not freedom struggle and jihad, its terrorism. That’s why I tried to tell the then Government to stay neutral so you will have leverage over them. You will be able to control them but if you join them you become collaborators and they will attack you, which is what happened. They turned against us. we went through a nightmare. 70, 000 people killed in a war we had nothing to do with. No Pakistani was involved in 9/11. Taliban were in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan.
So when we came to power, we decided we would dismantle what was left of these groups and this decision was taken not just by us but all the political parties in Pakistan. Unfortunatelty they didn’t implement it. So we came to power, we dicided to implement it and we dismantled whatever was left of the groups.
India keeps accusing us
And I know that India keeps accusing us that there are these groups. I would like United Nations to send observers. See for themselves what we have done. No Pakistani Government would have dared to do this because this would have created strife but we decided that there would be no militant organisation in Pakistan. I need to give you this background to what I have to say later on.
We started mending fences. I invited the Afghan President. We developed relationship with Afghanistan. We had problems with Iran, we mended fences there and then India.
Let me give some background about my relationship with India. Because of Cricket, and because Cricket is a passion in the sub-continent, I have agreat following in India. I have friends in India and I love going to India. So immediately when my party came to power, the first thing we did was to immediately reach out to India. I spoke to (Indian prime Minister) Modi and told him look we have similar problems – climate change, poverty. Let’s get together, let’s resolve our differences through trade and build a relationship on trust.
Prime Minister Modi told me there were terrorist attacks from Pakistan. I said we have problem from you. There are terrorist attacks we know instigated by India in Baluchistan. We caught a spy who admitted the sabotage going on in Karachi and Baluchistan. So we said let’s leave that behind and let’s move forward. Our main priority should be our people. the highest number of poor people live in the Indian sub-continent. Unfortunately it didn’t make any headway. The foreign ministers were supposed to meet at UNGA last year, India cancelled it. We thought their election’s coming up. Its an ultra-nationalist party. It doesn’t want to cozy up to Pakistan. So we thought ok we will wait till the elections.
Meanwhile a 20-year old Kashmiri boy, whose father said he was radicalised by the security forces in Kashmir blew himself up on an Indian convoy. Imemdiately India blamed us.
I spoke to the Indian public on television. I said if you give us any iota of proof, we will immediately take action because we have clamped down on these groups. Rather then sending us any proof they sent their jets, they bombed us. We retaliated. Two of their planes were shot down. One pilot bailed out in Pakistan. we immediately returned the pilot saying we do not want any escalation. Rather then taking that as a peace gesture, almost the entire campaign of Mr. Modi in the election was how he had tought Pakistan a lesson. That their jets had killed 350 terrorists. Complete lie. They had just killed about 10 trees of ours, which was quite painful given we are growing all these trees. In the election campaign Mr. Modi used words like this is just the trailer, the movie is about to start. I went into Pakistan and taught them a lesson. We thought politicians make all these statements to win elections so after elections we will get back to our normal relationship.
Well, the moment the elections ended, we approached India. No response, but then we discovered they were trying to push us in the fat of blacklist, to bankrupt us. That’s when we realized there was an agenda and that agenda became obvious on the 5th August when India went against 11 UN Security Council resolutions, which say that Kashmir is a disputed territory and the people of Kashmir have the right of self determination. They went against that. they went against Simla Accord, which is sorting out differences through bilateral means. They actually went against the Indian Constitution. Illegally they revoked Article 370, which gave Kashmir the special status. They got an extra 180,000 troops there. Total number of security forces in Kashmir now is 900,000 and they put 8 million people of Kashmir under curfew.
What is RSS
How can anyone do something like this. I have to explain what is RSS.
Mr Modi is a life member of RSS. It was an organisation that was inspired by Adolf Hitler and Mussolini came about in 1925. They believed in racial purity, racial superiority. they also believed they were an Aryan race like the Nazis believed they were an Aryan race. All that I am saying can be verified. This is the time of information revolution. You can google all this what I am saying. But it is very important for me to explain this so you know what is happening in India.
This RSS believed in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from India. So you know what is happening in India. At one point there was racial superiority of the Hindu race. Secondly, it was hatred for the Muslims and for the Christians because they believed that this golden age of Hindu civilsation was stopped because of Muslim rule centuries back and then the British rule of India. So it was racial superiority and hatred for Muslims and Christians. This is openly stated. You look at the founding fathers of RSS – Golwalkar and Savarkar – just google them and find out. And this ideology of hate is what murdered the great Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. It was this ideology of hate that made Narendra Modi in 2002 do a pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat when he was the chief minister. He allowed 3 days for these RSS goons who were inspired by the Hitler brown shirts – they actually wear these brown shirts. The previous Congress Home Minister gave a statement that in RSS camps terrorists are being trained and these terrorists butchered 2000 Muslims and 150,000 Muslims were made homeless. Narendra Modi could not travel to the US because of that and I need to make you understand this background before I explain to you that what sort of a mindset would lay siege to 8 million people with 900,000 troops. Women, children, sick people locked in as animals. In fact, of what I know of England, if 8 million animals were locked in, RSPCA would have made a lot of noise about it. These are human beings.
What comes with racial superiority- these illusions of Aryan, superior race is arrogance. The two go together and its arrogance that makes people make mistakes and do stupid things, cruel things like what Narendra Modi has done. Its shear arrogance and its arrogance that has blinded him from the fact. From what is going to happen when the curfew is lifted. Has he thought about it. This hasn’t been thought through. What is he going to do when he lifts the curfew. Does he think that the people of Kashmir are going to quietly accept the status quo because India has changed the Constitution and taken away the special status. Will they accepet that.
Hundred thousand Kashmiris have died in the past 30 years because they were denied the rights given by the United Nations. The right for self-determination. Hundred thousand have died and 11,000 women have been raped. There are United Nations Human Rights reports on this. The world hasn’t done anything because India is a huge market – 1.2 billion people. Sadly the material prevails over the humans. But this has serious consequences. again I repeat that’s why I am here.
Look what is going to happen when the curfew is lifted there will be a blood bath. The people will come out. There are 900,000 troops there. They are not there as Narendra Modi says he has done that for the prosperity of Kashmir. These 900,000 troops, what are they going to do. When they come out, there will be a blood bath. Has he thought it through, what happens then. Has anyone thought that what happens when there is a blood bath. What do you think will be its impact on the people of Kashmir. What do you think, they will think. The way they have been boxed in their houses. Treated like worse then animals. No rights. All their political leadership has been arrested. Taken out of Kashmir. Even those Kashmiri leaders who were pro-India have been taken out. Thirteen thousand boys have been picked up and taken to God knows which destinations.
So what do they think. What will the people of Kashmir do when they lift the curfew. They will be out in the streets. And what will the soldiers do. They will shoot them. they have already used pellets guns. Blinded young boys in the last six years. The oppression that has gone on in Kashmir. And so Kashmiris will be further radicalised.
There will be another Pulwama and guess what, India will blame us. They already blaming us. They saying all this is happening because of Pakistan. One of their Defence Minister said there are 500 terrorists lined up on the border to go ahead. Why would Pakistan send 500 terrorists when there are 900,000 troops. What impact they are going to make.What will they do. Don’t we know that the moment there is some terrorist attack, all that will happen is there will be further cruelty and oppression of the people of Kashmir. We will just give the (opportunity) to the 900,000 troops to further crush the people of Kashmir. And then we will give the Indian Government an excuse that look Pakistan is a terror state – this mantra that has gone on that is “Islamic terrorism”. The moment you use this catch word Islamic terrorism, the whole world turns away. No one talks about human rights. You can do whatever you want, which is what has happened in Kashmir because they keep using this word Islamic terrorism and this is what they are doing right now. What do we benefit from further increasing the cruelty on the people of Kashmir. And why would we want this.
But, there is no other narratve left for India. As when they lift the curfew whatever happens, Pakistan will be blamed and there is always the danger of another Pulwama. they might come and bomb us again and then another cycle might start. And what does Narendra Modi think that 180 million Muslims of India are thinking right now. Aren’t they watching these Kashmiris stuck inside for 55 days. Aren’t they watching. Don’t you think the Muslims will be radicalised in India and I am talking of 180 million people. And when they get radicalised. There will be some incident in India somewhere down the line. Again we will be blamed.
And what about 1.3 billion Muslims, who are watching this and they know it is only happening in Kashmir because they are Kashmiri Muslims. This is not happening to kashmiri Hindus. They know that this is happening because of their religion. What do you think they will be thinking. What do you think the Jewish community would think if 8000 jews were stuck like this. What do you think Europeans would think. Are we a children of a lesser God. Is this not going to cause us pain.
And then I will tell you what will happen. In the 1.3 billion Muslims, someone will pick up arms. We have been brought up with films, western films. This good decent guy doesn’t get justice, he decides to pick up a gun and starts seeking justice. There was a film made in New York – famous film called Deathwish – this guy gets mugged and his wife gets killed and he can’t get justice and he picks up a gun and goes about shooting muggers and the whole cinema cheers him on. So what do you think the Muslims are thinking right now. If there is a blood bath, there would be Muslims becoming radicals not because of Islam but because of what they will see that there is no justice when it comes to Muslims. There were Rohingya Mulims – Myanmar, almost a million people out – ethnic cleansing. What was the response of the world community. So what do you think will be the response of 1.3 billion Muslims.
I picture myself, I’m in Kashmir. I’ve been locked up for 55 days. I’ve heard about rapes. Indian Army going into homes. would I want to live this humiliation. I would pick up the gun. You are forcing people into radicalisation. When people lose the will to live. What is there to live for.
If you can do this to human beings, you are actually radicalising people.
I want to repeat here, this is one of the most critical times. There will be a reaction to this. Pakistan will be blamed. Two nuclear armed countries will come face to face. Like we came in February and before we head in that direction, the United Nations has a responsibility. This is why the United Nations came into being in 1945. You were supposed to stop this happening. I think we are back to 1939 – Munich, and how Czechoslovakia had been taken, annexed – what is the world community going to do. Is it going to appease a market of 1.3 billion or is it going to stand up for justice and humanity.
If this goes wrong, you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. If a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen but supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbour is faced with the choice either you surrender or you fight for your freedom till death, what will we do. I ask myself this question and my belief is, there is no God but one and we will fight and when a nuclear armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world. Which is why I am here. I am warning you. It’s not a threat. Its a fair worry that where are we headed. I have come here to tell the UN. This is a test for the United Nations. You are the one who guaranteed the people of Kashmir the right of self-determination. They are suffering because of that. And this is the time not to appease like in 1939 appeasement took place. This is the time to take action.
Number one action must be that India must lift this inhuman curfew, which has lasted for 55 days. It must free all political prisoners and especially those 13,000 boys that have been picked up and their parents don’t know where they have disappeared. And then the world community must give the people of Kashmir the right of self-determination.