NEW YORK: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday assailed Indian government and its moves to cement control of Kashmir, calling India a “state sponsor of hatred and prejudice against Islam.”
Khan said that Islamophobia prevails in India today and threatens the close to 200 million Muslims who live there.
“They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens,” Khan said in a prerecorded speech to the U.N. General Assembly, which is being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Khan has frequently criticized the decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2019 to strip Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, scrap its separate constitution and remove inherited protections on land and jobs. India’s security clampdown has sparked protests, and U.N.-appointed independent experts have called on the Indian government to take urgent action.
Khan, as he did in his speech before the world body last year, said that the very first action that India needed to take was to lift the curfew in Kashmir and then release all detained prisoners. “And then the world community must give the Kashmiris the right of self-determination,” he stressed. He also condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries and provocations and incitement “in the name of free speech.”
Despite Khan’s outcry at the treatment of Muslims worldwide, Pakistan has not criticized China’s assault on its Muslim minority Uighur population. Pakistan’s silence, like that of other influential Muslim nations, is linked to its economic ties to China.
India walks out
The Indian delegate at the UN General Assembly meeting walked out of the hall when Pakistan Prime Minister’s statement was played.
The delegate Mijito Vinito picked up his papers and left the hall as Khan’s speech was played on a large overhead screen.
After Khan’s speech, TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, tweeted that the country would use the “right of reply” facility to respond to the Pakistani premier’s address.
“PM of Pakistan statement a new diplomatic low – at 75th UN General Assembly. Another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, war mongering and obfuscation of Pakistan’s persecution of its own minorities & of its cross-border terrorism. Befitting Right of Reply awaits,” Tirumurti said in his tweet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the UN General Assembly through a video statement on Saturday.
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