Khan’s four-stroke combo at the UNGA

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Antecedently, the Prime Minister Imran Khan became the second office-holder of Pakistan who made a historic speech at the floor of United Nations General Assembly; first being Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto- the then Foreign Minister of Pakistan- when he whimsically tore the pages at the floor of UN security Council on December 15, 1971. Nonetheless, in the annals of United Nation’s history, many of world leaders became the talk of international political arena when they made their presence felt by their emotional, vitriolic, trenchant, acrimonious or litigious speeches at UNGA. However, they all somehow remained unsuccessful in making any difference at international fronts.

Although, Khan’s speech at UNGA is not much deviating from the precedence in making him predominant and paramount not only on social media platforms but also in the headlines of the prestigious newspapers of the world, yet it is unique in the sense that it had hit the nail on the head by highlighting the core issues facing billions of poor people of underdeveloped and developing nations from around the globe as a whole; save that of the regional issue of Kashmir. Khan’s speech came in the limelight as The Dawn made the headline “PM pours his heart out, warns world of Kashmir ‘bloodbath’”; Express Tribune, “Act before it’s too late, PM tells world”; and Pakistan today said “Imran Nails It”.

Undoubtedly, Imran Khan’s speech at the UNGA stirred the hornet’s nest as his speech hit the global status quo; henceforth creating much hullaballoo at the international political arena. His historic speech, emphasizing four key points, can be regarded as four-stroke combo for the bigwigs of the world. As, the four points starting from climate change to money-laundering, and from Islamophobia to the issue of Kashmir- all ineluctably relates to hit the stake of top-bananas of the world. Since, United Nation has its own history of double standards and clandestinely supporting the stakes of kingpins, it is to be noted that unfortunately no serious hopes for the amelioration of the state of the affairs is to be attached with the very forum. Henceforth, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech can also be seen vis-à-vis the harsh realities of the world.

Now, the questions arise here is what outcomes will emerge for Pakistan after Khan’s address? What would be the ramifications of the emotional and sonorous tone of the speech both nationally and internationally? Would the legitimacy of money laundering by the ruling elites from the underdeveloped or developing countries to the tax-heavens or the fiscal-heavens which are in the wealthy nations be questioned? Would the United Nations put a check on denouncing, denigrating and accusing Islamic faith under the garb of “Freedom of Expression?” Would the Nation-States of the world react upon the pangs of their conscience by setting apart their reach to the market of more than 1.2 billion Indian people? Would the pitiful wails, inarticulate cries and the howls of pain of the hopeless and hapless people of Kashmir now be heard? In fact, the list of harsh yet realistic questions is far from exhaustive.

Firstly, Imran Khan brought to the fore the global issue of climate change, as it is a very serious problem especially for the underdeveloped and developing world. The carbon footprint of developed nations are much higher because of severe industrialization and energy consumptions. There are only three developing countries in the top-ten carbon emitting countries, and as per a story published by ‘The Independent’, only 100 companies are responsible for the 71% of global greenhouse gas emission. Most of these companies have origins in the developed-most nations. As of late, Uncle Sam’s non seriousness for the overhauling of the very issue is the evidence that there seem to be no welcoming gesture over the raised issue of climate change by the bigwigs.

Secondly, the mentioning of Money laundering by Khan, which is basically the flow of wealth from poor countries to the wealthy one where they offer low or no corporate and income taxes, facilitate minimal reporting of information, practice lack of transparency obligations, and provide incentives in non-local presence requirements will surely be not recognized. As almost all the renowned fiscal heavens are in the developed world, prominent among them are Switzerland, Panama, British Virgin Islands and Luxembourg. Khan’s bold and straight forward statement about the facilitation of the developed world for the corrupt-most ruling elites of the developing one for the inflow of offshore wealth through money laundering would hard to digest for the top-bananas, if not to resist.

Thirdly, the issue of Islamophobia, upon which he shed light in the most unequivocal way, is already a hard nut to crack for the big powers. As, most of the incidents against Muslims is a result of Islamophobia happening time and again in the developed world, and unfortunately they have a tendency to blink the facts or brush the matter aside as far as sufferings of the Muslims are concerned. Henceforth, Khan’s mentioning of the very issue might serve only an emotional appeal.

Fourthly, the most serious issue of Kashmir and the inhuman curfew by the Indian Government carried the most emotional, sober; and yet warning and cautioning tone by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. His vehement denying of the Indian violation of special status of Kashmir and emphasizing on it as a disputed territory is indeed very well-orchestrated. The Indian narrative that Pakistan has no locus-standi in the internal matters of India is overshadowed by Khan’s speech at UNGA, which raised far above his counterpart by his lucid and argumentative discourse. Khan’s realistic analogies which he made during his speech about the tendentious behaviors and treatments of the west were enough to melt their otherwise obdurate heart and make them conscious-smitten, if not supporters.

To conclude, undoubtedly, the speech was well orchestrated and successfully expressed the true sentiments of the people of Pakistan and Kashmir. Internationally, the Indian narrative of Kashmir as “Internal matter of India” was buried for at least some years ahead at all. On one hand, Indian accusation of Pakistan’s veritable arm in supporting non-state actors and stoking insurgencies in Kashmir is vehemently denied, while on the other hand Imran Khan realistically and argumentatively pointed towards any sort of Indian machination and the foreseen bloodshed by Indian blatant army, once the inhuman curfew is lifted in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He alarmed the world about the Indian demonized intention of using Pulwama-type incident as ‘casus-belli’ for attacking on Pakistan.

He statements regarding money laundering would have positive impact over the erstwhile decision of FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) which placed Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ without any procedural evolution, which acted just upon the US proposal, with the backing of France, Britain and Germany against Pakistan. Khan’s mentioning of money laundering is basically the lament of double standards by the West. As, paradoxically, $600 billion of Pakistan have been laundered to the same western countries which supported a ban on Pakistan at FATF. Another factor is regarding ‘Terror Financing’, because of Anti-Pakistan elements’ presence like Altaf Hussain, Hyrbyair, Brahamdagh, Naila Baloch and people alike who have known links of terror organizations in the same western countries.

For national politics, Khan’s speech will successfully be able to break the momentum of Maulana Fazal ur Rahman’s upcoming protest in Islamabad under the pretext of “Namoos-e-Risalat” as Khan exquisitely fought the case of Islamophobia and branding of Islam as religion of the terrorists. No space is now left for Maulana’s narrative of ‘dharna’ under the garb of religion in Islamabad after Khan’s historic speech at UNGA.

Despite the overall success of Imran Khan’s speech at UNGA, many intellectuals also opined that the incessant mentioning of Islamophobia and the accusation on the West upon branding of Islam as a terrorist religion may have negative consequences for the image of the State in general. Moreover, recurrent warning of nuclear war and war-till-death at the UNGA, in spite of its success in raising Kashmir as a serious issue, may deteriorate the overall image of the state as lacking egalitarian, moderate, pacifist and enlightened society. That may dwarf overall Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan which is the need of the day. As none of the companies, corporations or multinationals ever feel easy to invest in the jingoistic countries which are at the point of war- or more rightly a fanatic nuclear war.

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The author belongs to Quetta, Balochistan. He is the winner of 'English Article' category of the Writing Contest held by VOB from June-July, 2019.

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