Indian gov’t ‘sponsors Islamophobia’, Pakistan PM tells UN

In his UN General Assembly speech, Pakistani leader also denounces India’s moves to cement control of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Khan also spoke about Pakistan's coronavirus response and called for debt relief for poor nations amid the pandemic [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

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’s security clampdown sparked protests, and UN-appointed independent experts have called on the Indian government to take urgent action.

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.

"They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens"

- IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTAN PM

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.

Thousands of protesters over the past year have been wounded in pellet-gun attacks, including hundreds blinded in one or both eyes.

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.

See article here.

Published by Al Jazeera September 25, 2020.

© 2020 Al Jazeera Media Network

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