Imran Khan Speech in UN General Assembly and Kashmir Conundrum

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan warns of potential nuclear war over Kashmir in a speech done by him in UN General Assembly’s 74th Session September 27, 2019. Moreover, he urged the UN to intervene otherwise outbreak of war between Delhi and Islamabad would leave consequences not only for Pakistan and India but also for the region and ultimately for the world. Therefore, it is also the responsibility of the UN, being an international forum to settle disputes among states, to take action for solving the Kashmir problem and gives the people of Kashmir the right of self-determination which is their fundamental right. The Speech was mostly appreciated within the country by various sections of society. As for as the PM Imran Khan’s speech about Kashmir is concerned, people in Pakistan looked at speech with emotions and sympathies with Kashmir and its suppressed people who have been suffering at the hands of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies and actions. While at the same time PM Imran Khan’s Speech was also criticized by various sections of society because they consider that speech does not produce effective results either on Delhi or over other nations throughout the world.

On the other hand, Indian perspective portrays another picture of the whole scenario of the matter of Kashmir. As for as the perception and sentiments of Indian government and population are concerned, at one hand, they consider Kashmir as their “AtootAng” means inseparable part of it and their internal matter. While on another hand, when it comes to the international forum Delhi considers it as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Therefore they have been trying to propagate their version of Kashmir problem for gaining sympathies of global entities. India keeps the view that Pakistan promotes Jihad and help Jihadi to spread terrorism in Kashmir as well as other parts of the world. PM Modi is actively using the anti-Pakistan perspective through his RSS and nationalist ideology which was also used by him for election campaign and exploited the people of India to win the election and got popular support over the anti-Pakistan narrative. Furthermore, he tries to institutionalize the nationalist perspective influenced by Hindutva and RSS ideology.

Therefore, looking over Indian propaganda, speech done by PM Imran Khan in UNGA is a positive sign to internationalize the issue of Kashmir. Besides, Islamabad has to highlight the Kashmir issue at various global forums for gaining their sympathies as well as bringing the issue into their notice. Being a rational, it is clear that when an opponent is economically and militarily powerful then the best option is to explore the other possible ways like gaining the favour of international forums through exposing the Indian atrocities and killings of the people of Kashmir. While there are opposite perspectives regarding the Kashmir issue within both the nations. So it is the responsibility of both Delhi and Islamabad to consider the point of view of the people of Kashmir who are the real victims and suffers from pain and plight. There is a huge portion of Kashmiri people who only want independence rather choosing Pakistan or India for their inclusion. There is also a famous slogan of Kashmiris in which they clearly explain their point of view regarding the system and structure of Kashmir which is “Ham Kia Chaahte ‘Azaadi’ Is Paar BhiLenge Azaadi Us Paar Bhi Lenge Azadi”. Therefore it is clear that most of the Kashmiris want independence and both the nations should take care of the freedom and fundamental rights of the general masses of Kashmir as they could feel freedom along with walking on the path of peace, prosperity, development and independence.

Even though Kashmir is a conflict not just of territory, it is conflict over national identities, sub-national identities, economic resources, strategic importance, religious identities, cultural identities, and many more which makes it very complex. But rationality for both the nations is in the solution of this long-lasting problem which is a great hindrance in the development of both the states. In this regard, during an interview with BBC News on April 10, 2019, PM Imran Khan talked about the Settling over differences with India. In which he said that the Kashmir is the only issue between both the countries which cause problems for them. So this issue should be solved through dialogues because it is in the benefit of both Delhi and Islamabad and in a broader way for regions as well. Besides, it is very important for both the nations to solve it for the future of the people of the Kashmir as well as India and Pakistan. As earlier mentioned by PM Modi that our task should be getting our people out of poverty. The world is experiencing new kinds of threats in the form of dangerous viruses such as Coronavirus so nations need to prepare themselves for such kind of new and sudden threats which are destroying them. Therefore, it is a high time for both the nations to settle their differences and take a path of peace, stability, development, friendship and mutual understanding.

Irfan Mahar
Irfan Mahar
The writer is working as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, and Ph.D. scholar in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad,Pakistan.