By SJA Jafri + Bureau Report + Int’l Monitoring Desk
ISLAMABAD/ NEW DELHI/ UNITED NATIONS: In a speech to the United Nations, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called India’s Hindu-nationalist government a sponsor of hatred and prejudice against Islam, while denouncing its moves to cement control of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday, Khan said Islamophobia prevails in India today and threatens the nearly 200 million Muslims who live there.
“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,” Khan said in a recorded speech to the UNGA, which is being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens.”
Pakistan PM has frequently criticised the decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last August to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its statehood, scrap its separate constitution and remove inherited protections on land and jobs.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India. Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.
The Kashmir region is split between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the territory while claiming the region in its entirety.
“There will be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved on the basis of international legitimacy,” Khan said, calling for a peaceful solution and a rescinding of India’s August 5 move.
Residents of the heavily militarised Indian-administered Kashmir say security forces have arrested thousands of young men, raided people’s homes, inflicted beatings and electric shocks, and threatened to take away and marry their female relatives.
For seven months, until March, the area was under a communications blackout with social media and internet access banned.
“The international community must investigate these grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity.”
Khan, as he did in his speech before the world body last year, also condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries and provocations and incitement “in the name of free speech”.
“Incidents in Europe, including republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples,” he said.
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo reprinted the Prophet Mohammed caricatures this month that were first published in 2015.
Meanwhile, in exercising India’s ‘Right of Reply’ to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) debate on Friday, First Secretary Mijito Vinito called Khan’s remarks “an incessant rant”.
The response said Mr. Khan had “no reasonable suggestion to offer the world” and his speech was about “lies, misinformation, war mongering and malice.”
“The words used today at this great Assembly by the leader of Pakistan demean the very essence of the United Nations. For a nation that is deeply buried in medievalism, it is understandable that the tenets of a modern civilized society such as peace, dialogue and diplomacy are farfetched,” Vinito said.
Mr. Khan, in his speech earlier on Friday, had talked about India’s treatment of its minorities, legislative changes to Jammu & Kashmir, Indian troop presence there etc. He had also warned of Kashmir being a nuclear flashpoint and said there would be no peace in South Asia until the Kashmir dispute was resolved on the basis of “international legitimacy.”