Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his virtual address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 75th session, highlighted global issues including climate change, money laundering, pandemic, Islamophobia and human rights violations. He called upon the UN to play its role to combat racism and ensure implementation of its own resolution for global peace and stability.
Pakistan’s COVID-19 success
Khan began his speech with Pakistan’s COVID-19 response which was globally acclaimed as one of the “success stories” in controlling the virus. The government’s US$8 billion relief package for the vulnerable people, subsidies for small business and the “smart lockdown strategy” helped “control virus, stabilise the economy and protect the poorest segment from the worst fallout.” However, “we are still not out of the woods like no country is”.
Curb money laundering
The Pakistani premier directed UNGA’s attention towards money laundering and corruption by the elite of developing countries and lamented that money that “should have been used on human development has been siphoned off by corrupt leaders to havens in developed countries”.
“There is a lack of political will in the rich countries to curb this criminal activity,” he said, cautioning that if money launderers were provided with sanctuaries, it would “accentuate inequality poor and rich countries” and may “lead to a bigger challenge than the current migration crisis.” Khan requested the UN assembly “to channelize efforts towards stopping the illicit flow of wealth from developing countries” through robust anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing models.
COVID-19 support for developing nations
While appreciating the relief and support from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and UN bodies, he called for additional financial inflows. Developing countries would need a $2.5 trillion support package to face the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he said citing a UN report.
Khan also touched upon the issue of climate change in his speech. “The unprecedented forest fires in Australia, Siberia, and Brazil, as well as flooding and record high temperatures in various parts of the world should make us all of worried for the future generation.” He called upon the international community to fulfil commitments made through the Paris agreement particularly the goal of mobilising jointly US$100 billion dollars a year by 2020 for developing countries vulnerable to climate change threat.
Islamophobia and human right violations
“The pandemic was an opportunity to bring humanity together. Unfortunately, it has fanned nationalism, increased global tensions, and given rise to racial and religious hatred and violence against vulnerable minorities”. Islamophobia was rising in several countries, he said, adding that Muslims were being “targeted with impunity”, mosques were being desecrated and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was being insulted “in the name of freedom of speech”.
Khan said that “there is one country where the state sponsors Islamophobia, that is India. Modi’s RSS inspired politics has fuelled the idea of a Hindutva state, burying the very principles of Nehru and Gandhi’s ideology.” RSS founding fathers were inspired by Nazis and have adopted their concepts, he said. “While Nazis directed their hate towards Jews, the RSS direct it towards the Muslims and to a lesser extent Christians.”
“Kashmir is a long-standing issue of South Asia and a nuclear flashpoint. The UN must ensure a peaceful solution as per UN resolutions”. “India has illegally occupied Kashmir against the wishes of Kashmiris, destroying their neighbourhoods, followed by a total communications blackout since August 5 and military siege of 900,000 troops on 8 million Kashmiris”. He urged the UN to “investigate and prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity in India.” In attempts to divert attention from Kashmir, “India is playing a dangerous game and upping the military ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised environment” while “Pakistan has always resorted to a peaceful solution.”
Pakistan continues to support a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel issue as per UN’s own resolutions. “This calls for pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds and Al-Sharif to be united capital of independent Palestinian state”, he said. Pakistan is adamant to help create a world with long-standing conflicts being put to a peaceful solution and an equitable environment for all.
Afghan peace process
On Afghanistan’s situation, Khan said “Pakistan is deeply gratified to have fulfilled its part of responsibility by facilitating the process that culminated in US-Taliban talks”. The past two decades of war have proved that the Afghanistan issue has “no military solution” and the “only way forward is a political settlement.”