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Pakistan PM tells UN India 'sponsors Islamophobia'

Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 27, 2019 — Reuters/Files Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 27, 2019 — Reuters/Files

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, Al Jazeera reports.

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, according to the report.

“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 was quoted to have 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 reportedly 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, according to the report.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India, the report notes adding that Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.

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, according to the Al Jazeera report.

 “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 was quoted to have said, calling for a peaceful solution and a rescinding of India’s August 05 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, according to the report.

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

For seven months, until March, the area was under a communications blackout with social media and internet access banned, the report says

The Qatari-funded television channel quoted Khan as saying: “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 reportedly 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 was quoted to have said.

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo reportedly reprinted the Prophet Mohammed caricatures this month that were first published in 2015.


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