The speech of PM Imran Khan at UNGA rightly indicates that international agreements are being violated

By Seymur Mammadov

Seymur Mammadov is the Director of the International Expert Club «EurAsiaAz» which deals with strategic issues of Eurasian Region.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan addressed the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, addressing a wide range of issues, ranging from the Kashmir dispute, peace in Afghanistan, Islamophobia, Palestine issue, the plight of minorities in India, COVID-19 pandemic, money laundering, debt relief to the issue of Climate Change. There is a need to document this historic speech that covered issues being faced by human race and peace all over the world.

Imran Khan is absolutely right that international agreements are being violated and postponed

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, starting his speech, expressed grave concern about the serious challenges facing humanity:

«Today, the foundations of the “world order”– non-use of or threat of unilateral force, self-determination of peoples, the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, international cooperation – all these ideals are being systematically eroded. International agreements are being flouted and set aside. Renewed great-power rivalries are leading to a new arms race. Conflicts are proliferating and intensifying. Military occupation and illegal annexations are suppressing the rights of human beings to self-determination. According to respected Professor Noam Chomsky, mankind is at even greater risk than it was before the 1st and 2nd World Wars in the last century, and this is because of the increased threat of nuclear war, Climate Change, and sadly the rise of authoritarian regimes. We must come together to prevent such a catastrophe. We believe that the driving force in international relations must be cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law, and not confrontation and force».

The system of international relations is unable to settle the territorial conflicts between India and Pakistan, on the one hand, and between Azerbaijan and Armenia

Imran Khan is absolutely right that international agreements are being violated and postponed. The truth is that the system of international law, on which many countries pin great hopes in the event of interstate conflicts, does not actually work; the UN Security Council resolutions, international agreements and laws are completely ignored; the arms race continues to intensify, and after it new hotbeds of tension appear on the political map of the world, armed conflicts flare up with renewed vigor. International law is unable to stop all these listed challenges.

Today, unfortunately, the system of international relations is unable to settle the territorial conflicts between India and Pakistan, on the one hand, and between Azerbaijan and Armenia, on the other hand. It is with a feeling of regret that I want to note that the UN does not have a single recipe for resolving territorial conflicts. This structure is so weakened that its resolutions are not taken seriously by the countries that have occupied the territories of other countries. A striking example of this is the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia in the 90s and its failure to comply with four UN Security Council resolutions on Karabakh to this day. I have to admit that the UN no longer lives up to the hopes of countries facing the threat of occupation of their territories. This structure has turned into a “dead” organization that is unable to enforce its resolutions. What is the point in adopting resolutions if they are not being implemented?

Continuing his speech at the 75th UN General Assembly, Imran Khan said that the main task of the government is to create a fair and equitable social order. “To achieve this goal, we need peace and stability,” he said. After Imran Khan came to power, fundamental changes took place in Pakistan, the government is consistently making efforts to improve the well-being of its people, creating new jobs, implementing new infrastructure projects within the country and with other countries, and all this has a positive effect on the country’s economy. The Pakistani government is more focused on resolving internal problems, pursuing economic reforms and a peaceful policy towards its neighbors (Pakistan is actively promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan), and some forces in the US and India are trying to present Pakistan “as a source and breeding ground for terrorism”, although we we know perfectly well that this is not so.

Referring to COVID-19, the Pakistani prime minister said the lockdown triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression last century.

«This has hit the poorest countries the hardest as well as the poor in all the countries. In Pakistan, we realized very early on that if we imposed a strict lockdown, the type that several affluent countries had imposed, we would have more people dying of hunger than the virus. Therefore, we adopted a policy of ‘smart lockdown.’ While concentrating on the virus hot-spots we opened up our agricultural sector immediately and then followed it up by the construction sector, which employed most of the people»,- said I. Khan.

Despite the fact that the pandemic has caused significant damage to the economies of many countries around the world, Pakistan is one of those countries that have shown strong resistance to it and brought small businesses out of the big crisis. First, the Pakistani government has allocated $ 8 billion to combat COVID-19, provided cash payments to low-income families, and provided subsidies to small businesses. All these measures helped stabilize the country’s economy. Therefore, it is not surprising that Pakistan today is among the countries that have successfully proven themselves in the fight against the pandemic. Since the virus has not yet been completely defeated, and many countries are going through a period of crisis, it would be advisable for the Navy, the World Bank and other large financial institutions to continue providing lending and extending debt maturities to improve the global economy.

In addition, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his grave concerns about climate change.

«Unprecedented fires in Australia, Siberia, California, Brazil; unprecedented floodings in various parts of the world; record temperatures even in the Arctic Circle. This should make us all worried for our future generations»,- he said.

He called for the implementation of the commitments made by the countries under the Paris Agreement. In particular, we are talking about a commitment to the annual allocation of $ 100 billion to combat climate change. Islamabad is actively involved in this struggle, for example, a massive program has been launched to plant 10 billion trees over the next three years.

Imran Khan also touched upon Islamophobia, saying that nationalism is being fomented, global tensions are increasing, and racial and religious hatred and violence against vulnerable minorities are being generated in several places. As a result, these trends have also exacerbated Islamophobia.

«Muslims continue to be targeted with impunity in many countries. Our shrines are being destroyed; our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) insulted; the Holy Quran burnt – and all this in the name of freedom of speech. Incidents in Europe, including the republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples. We stress that wilful provocations and incitement to hate and violence must be universally outlawed. This Assembly should declare an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” and build a coalition to fight this scourge – scourge that splits humanity. Mr. President, The one country in the world today where, I am sad to say, the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India. The reason behind this is RSS ideology that unfortunately rules India today. This extremist ideology was founded in 1920s. The RSS founding fathers were inspired by the Nazis and they adopted their concepts of racial purity and supremacy. While the Nazis hate was directed at the Jews, the RSS directs it towards the Muslims and to a lesser extent towards the Christians»,- he said.

The topic of Islamophobia raised at the UN General Assembly session by Imran Khan should seriously concern Muslim countries.

Unfortunately, the Kashmir conflict, like the Karabakh conflict, has been in limbo for quite a long time. Pakistan and Azerbaijan are trying to achieve a peaceful settlement of these conflicts, but from time to time there are clashes in Kashmir and Karabakh, the rights of Kashmiris are grossly violated, and about 1 million Azerbaijanis cannot return to their homes in Karabakh due to the occupation policy of Armenia

Currently, Islamophobia is growing all over the world, and this trend has not spared even Muslim countries in the Balkans. Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina are the three main Muslim countries in the Balkans with strong anti-Muslim rhetoric. There is also a large contingent of indigenous Muslims in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro who face day-to-day challenges while professing their faith, according to a report from a Turkish think tank, funded by the European Union. The United States has become a central source of funding for anti-Muslim narratives around the world. A 2019 report, Usurpation of Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network, found 1,096 organizations provide multimillion-dollar funding for 39 anti-Muslim groups.

Referring to the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that for over 72 years India had illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the will of the Kashmiri people and in flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions and even its own obligations to the people of Kashmir.

«On 5th August last year, India illegally and unilaterally sought to change the status of the occupied territories and deployed additional troops, bringing the total number to 900,000, to impose a military siege on 8 million Kashmiris. All Kashmiri political leaders were incarcerated; about 13,000 Kashmiri youth were abducted and thousands tortured; a complete curfew was imposed, accompanied by a total communications blackout. Indian occupation forces have used brute force including pellet guns against peaceful protestors; imposed collective punishments, including the destruction of entire neighbourhoods, and extra-judicially murdered hundreds of innocent young Kashmiris in fake “encounters”, refusing even to hand over their bodies for burial. The Kashmiri media, and those daring to raise their voice, are being systematically harassed and intimidated through the use of draconian laws. All of this is well documented in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, communications from the Special Rapporteurs of Human Rights Council, statements from human rights and civil society organizations»,- said the prime minister.

Unfortunately, the Kashmir conflict, like the Karabakh conflict, has been in limbo for quite a long time. Pakistan and Azerbaijan are trying to achieve a peaceful settlement of these conflicts, but from time to time there are clashes in Kashmir and Karabakh, the rights of Kashmiris are grossly violated, and about 1 million Azerbaijanis cannot return to their homes in Karabakh due to the occupation policy of Armenia. Until the dispute between Jammu and Kashmir is resolved on the basis of international legitimacy, there will be no lasting peace and stability in South Asia. At any time, the Kashmir conflict can flare up with a new large-scale force, which can turn into a regional and even a global war. To avoid this catastrophe, the UN Security Council must take preventive measures and enforce its own resolutions. While the UN is inactive, India, meanwhile, is trying to change the demographic structure of Kashmir in order to influence the outcome of the plebiscite provided for in the UN Security Council resolutions. The unresolved Kashmir conflict is forcing Pakistan and India to intensify the arms race, and this is fraught with serious negative consequences for the region, which can turn into a fierce battlefield not so much between Pakistan and India, but between global players, in which China, Russia, the United States and Europe can be involved.

The last question that Imran Khan raised at the UN General Assembly session related to the Afghan crisis. Pakistan’s desire for peace in the region is also evident in its efforts to promote a political solution in Afghanistan:

«I have consistently maintained over the past two decades that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The only way forward was and is a political settlement which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors. Pakistan fully facilitated the process that culminated in the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement on 29 February 2020. Pakistan is deeply gratified that it has fulfilled its part of the responsibility. The Afghan leaders must now seize this historic opportunity to achieve reconciliation and restore peace in their war-torn country».

There must be an international, regional and domestic consensus to resolve the Afghan crisis. Now there is only one way out: it is necessary to create a comprehensive concept under the auspices of the UN, in particular, the Security Council. Moreover, major powers, regional powers, including Pakistan, should participate in drawing up this concept. If a consensus is reached, then, of course, all conditions will be created for a settlement. As for the inside of the Afghan problem, it is necessary to create a government of national unity so that all parties to the conflict take part in it. It is necessary to create such a power structure so that all Afghan groups fit there.

So, summing up the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan, I would like to add that the Pakistani Prime Minister openly expressed his concern for the fate of all mankind, for the fate of the entire Muslim population, called for observing the principles of international law, spoke out for a multipolar world, building an equal social order. Imran Khan’s speeches clearly show Pakistan’s peaceful policy, the desire to improve the welfare of both Pakistanis and all peoples of the Muslim world.