The genesis of the Muhajir struggle for identity and privileges is the subject of this academic research. It delves into numerous topics and occurrences that have occurred since Pakistan’s inception. It is described how a Muhajir representative party morphed into an extreme group that focused solely on self-interest while exploiting Muhajirs. Moreover, to shed light on the activities of the authorized party for Muhajirs throughout anomalous administrations. Additionally, the study discusses the core causes, challenges, and elements that led to the downfall of MQM.
Actors and Nature of Movement
Throughout the movement’s history, numerous actors, including dictators and governments of the period, were engaged. MQM, originally known as the Muhajirs’ representative party, played a critical role. In addition, various fundamentalists, radicals, and nationalities had a significant impact. The movement’s nature did not remain constant throughout. There was no in between, it was serene one moment and violent the next.
Dynamics of the Conflict
Looking at the dynamics of the past and present, ethnic strife was primarily about resources and the acquisition of power by different groups; one ethnicity desired to subjugate the other. However, it was a struggle for dominance rather than an ethnic clash.
What are the social and political components of the Muhajir Movement, and how has it changed through different political eras? What were the causes of Muhajir mobilization and how did it come to an end?
To achieve this research’s major objectives, I have used an interpretive approach that focused on the root causes and key issues that have fueled the conflict again and again and the challenges to the recent peace process in Somalia. My research is deductive in nature as it examines the data which is qualitative and it is obtained from the credible secondary sources consisted of official documents, academic studies, articles and reports.
This research paper is mostly concerned with Muhajirs and their aspirations to be identified as Pakistanis rather than an ethnic groups. One looked through a lot of documents, books, websites, and so forth. The majority of them are made up of dispersed material, however this article deals with the Muhajir movement in a hierarchical fashion on occasional basis. Furthermore, the evolution of MQM since its conception is addressed, that is not addressed in a meaningful way throughout the majority of the articles.
Background of Muhajir Movement
Since the British capture in 1839, Karachi, in Sindh, has risen in both size and prominence. As millions of people fled from India to Pakistan in the aftermath of Partition in 1947, the city acted as an important transit centre and offered better economic opportunities. As a result, Karachi’s population grew dramatically. While many Punjabi Muslims moved west to live in Pakistan’s Punjab state, the vast majority of Muslims from the rest of India moved to Sindh. This altered Karachi’s demographic, ethnic, and cultural environment, separating it from the rest of Pakistan. While the Punjabi migrants blended with the state’s major tribes owing to cultural proximity. Multiethnic societies across the world are regularly obliged to tackle challenges that result from accepting multiple ethnic groups. Pakistan was founded as an Islamic republic, but it has always been ethnically diverse, with distinct ethnic characteristics dominating people’s identities depending on their background.
Congruence of Muhajir Community
Muhajirs were a favored clan in the formative days of Pakistan’s existence, with official policies targeted towards their advantage. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s quota system, for instance, was implemented to raise Bengali participation in the civil services but was devised in such a way that Muhajir participation wasn’t really affected. As a result, the Muhajirs dominated politics, administration, and commerce. Despite accounting for only 3% of the inhabitants, they held approximately 21% of the workforce. Seven of the twelve major industrial houses were run by Muhajirs. Muhajirs occupied 33.5 percent of officially designated posts in civilian administration, over half of higher positions in public firms, 23 percent senior positions in the armed services by the mid-1970s.
Muhajir Influx related Complications
Migrants from all over the sub continent and Afghanistan lived in Karachi over the decades. The city’s population explosion created rivalry for commodities, and Muhajirs saw themselves at conflict with the Sindhis, Punjabis, and Pashtuns on several occasions. Whereas during 1950s and 1960s, Karachi witnessed tensions between Sindhis and Muhajirs, as well as Muhajirs and Pashtuns. Secular parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat-i-Ulema-Pakistan (JUP) depicted Muhajirs on political fronts, while many other ethnicities favored a variety of parties until the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was formed in the 1960s. In Karachi, there was no distinction among racial and political factions till the 1970s. As a result, while still not founded on any distinct racial nativism, the JI and JUP stressed ideological manifestos, that the Muhajirs endorsed.
Political Movement of Muhajirs
Ayubs regime in 1958, precipitated Muhajirs’ fall, particularly after Pakistan’s capital was relocated from Karachi to Islamabad. The diaspora was upset by Khan’s ideas on institutional framework, and they voted for Fatima Jinnah over Ayub Khan in the first general election in 1964. As a result, Khan’s victory and the ensuing confrontations in Karachi between Muhajirs and Pashtuns fostered a sense of unease.
By 1970, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s rule and the PPP’s political agenda ushered in a new era of Muhajir politics. The decade would be pivotal for the Muhajirs. Bhutto pursued a number of measures that the Urdu-speaking populace saw as a violation of their civic, socioeconomic, and fundamental freedoms, as well as their multiculturalism. These included the forcible resignation, firing, or dismissals of nearly 1,000 Urdu-speaking officials, as well as the implementation of an ethno – linguistic quota system. Linguistic revolts sprang out in Sindh on a larger scale. Altaf Hussein got involved in student activism. Hussein was a proactive person at Karachi University whose devout Urdu-speaking family had moved from India. In 1978, he founded the All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO) to combat Muhajir prejudice. Muhajir businessmen attempted to maintain influence over slum settlements and also transportation inside the metropolis, that had a Pashtun stronghold, fueling racial tensions and contributing to mob violence in April 1985. Ever since, ethnic battles between Punjabis, Pashtuns, and Muhajirs have persisted over dominance of Sindh’s social infrastructure.
MQM and Zia ul Haq’s Era
From 1978 onwards, the Muhajirs strengthened their desire for individuality and galvanised around sectarian lines under Zia-ul-Haq’s rule. As their perception of financial and political oppression worsened, the term “Muhajir Nationalism” was repeatedly voiced, supporting Muhajir unification under a single authority and movement. Six days after Zia expanded the quotas for a further decade, the APMSO morphed into the Muhajir Quami Movement (MQM) on the premise of opposing Punjabi predominance by striving for an equitable number of positions in public service and academic institutions. MQM’s aggressive style added to the party’s appeal. MQM events urged adolescents to show their manhood and authority, while also encouraging anti-Punjab attitude.
MQM’s Manipulative Role
MQM used and utilized the Muhajir community’s dissatisfaction to push its ethno-militant goal. It regimented the youngsters into a rigorous hierarchical organization. Numerous analysts believe the party was the byproduct of Zia’s ‘political management.’ Per the JI officials, it was established to minimize their backing in Karachi, whilst PPP leaders think it was established to ‘even out’ their dominance in Sindh. Irrespective of their motivation for founding, the MQM effectively stirred up its supporters into a panic; this soon converted into political survival, with the MQM emerging Pakistan’s third-largest party in 1988.
On what is in the facts, Muhajir and Sindhi hatred intensified when MQM and PPP joined political factions. These involved sides inked a 59-point pact for their collaboration, which included some contentious arguments and hazy, excessive demands. The MQM management officially departed the partnership in October 1989, expressing its endorsement for a no-confidence resolution against the Bhutto administration. The breakdown of the coalition resulted in one of the bloodiest moments in Karachi’s historical past. In 1992, an operation was conducted out that deliberately targeted Muhajirs. The MQM mounted extensive assaults on the country’s civil administrative institutions, requiring a new “Operation Clean-Up” in 1995. In order to appeal to a larger socioeconomic base and distance itself from multilateralism, the MQM titled itself “Muttahida Quami Movement” in 1997. However, it did not bring about any significant changes in the party’s domestic politics, nor did it permit non-Muhajirs to join the party.
MQM and Musharraf’s Dictatorship
After General Musharraf assumed power through a military takeover, the MQM chose to halt hostilities with the administration and form an alliance with the Musharraf regime. Altaf Hussein remarked in a 2004 speech that, his party had just two possibilities whether to join mullahs or Musharraf, and they chose “the socially progressive General rather than the religious fanatics.”
Musharraf, being a Muhajir, supported the MQM because he required grassroots support for his unelected dictatorship. As a result, the party became a powerful governing party with Musharraf. This had a significant impact on Karachi democracy, as the MQM got hold of Musharraf’s measures. It aimed specifically Pashtuns in Karachi by influencing the home atmosphere, which had turned nasty to militants and extremists. The assassinations in Karachi in May 2007 were the most visible manifestation of the MQM’s allegiance to Musharraf.
From 2005 and 2008, the MQM not only dominated municipality affairs but also de facto power over state-owned territory around the city, which technically fell beneath authority of the regional government. At the very same moment, the party began to transform its public discourse. It desired worldwide recognition as an advocate for modern humanism, drawing on its previous conflicts with Religious organizations. It also focused on urban concerns and became an advocate for infrastructure developments. To further its own political agendas, the party maligned its political rivals, namely linking Pashtuns to extremism and fanaticism. MQM exploited countless Pashtuns, who were forced from their homes and relocated in Karachi. This sparked outrage, preparing the door for the PPP and the Awami National Party to emerge again.
MQM and Pakistan People Party’s Regime
The fall of Musharraf’s dictatorship in 2008 resulted in a turnaround of events for MQM. However during general election, the MQM won 16 of the 20 National Assembly constituencies from Karachi, allowing it to join the PPP alliance both at the federal and provincial level in Sindh. The PPP had a plurality in the Sindh Assembly, but opted to maintain the MQM in its coalition for couple of reasons: a) the MQM’s ability to create havoc in the province; and b) to level out the PML(Q), which was also part of a coalition to counterbalance MQM. MQM, was already marginalized in national politics as a result of its partnership with Musharraf, merely relished the chance to preserve some influence. MQM has constantly insulted, intimidated, and criticized the administration of Asif Ali Zardari and Yusuf Gilani.
Later, Karachi’s insurgency expanded past ethnic violence to encompass religious and ethnic violence. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) constructed a stronghold in the city, and an inflow of asylum seekers and refugees flocked to Karachi, having been driven from their motherland following the army’s combat activities against them in the northwestern tribal regions. This fueled ethno-nationalism among the Muhajirs, Sindhis, and Baloch, many of whom were linked to various factions. Extremism evolved into an implementation tool among political actors, for each party holding its own go-to criminal enterprise. Barriers erupted in several sections of Karachi, isolating communities and establishing no-go zones for citizens in territories occupied by terrorists and separatists. To support their operations, such gangs utilized the city as a safe haven and a source of revenue, intimidating the local populace with shakedowns and abductions. Political parties, for their part, seized the chance to make a point regarding on how particular ethnic communities who backed them had been impacted by the no-go zones, producing additional law-and-order issues.
The Supreme Court issued Suo Moto notice of the city’s unrest in 2011. It convened multiple sessions to explore the reasons and culprits of the carnage and determined that this wasn’t just an ethnic conflict but really a tussle among numerous political factions. The Supreme Court also condemned the province’s police force for being politicized. Rangers were given extraordinary policing powers, allowing them to execute strategic operations and inspections around the city, as well as arrest people allegedly involved in rioting.
MQM and Sharif Regime
The triumph of Nawaz Sharif and the PML(N) in the 2013 elections represented a watershed moment in MQM’s politics. The PML(N) did not need the MQM’s backing to establish a government. Similarly, in Sindh, the PPP gained a simple majority (65 seats) and established a regional government without MQM. The election also saw the rise of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which emerged as the state’s new political powerhouse. PTI was able to pierce the air of infallibility that surrounded MQM. Hussein’s political power was dwindling, putting him under growing political strain. Altaf had already been charged of manslaughter, money laundering, bigotry, and instigation of terrorism, among many other things, over the decades. Over 72 felony charges against Hussein were dismissed during the Musharraf government; many of these had subsequently been revived.
Pakistani Taliban and other foreign extremist organizations active in the nation were targeted by operation Zarb-e-Azb, which was initiated by the military in 2014. The operation provoked the Pakistani Taliban’s vicious attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, which resulted in the deaths of 100 students. The incident fueled ongoing armed actions in Karachi, with the authorities perceiving it as a chance to go after the MQM and the city’s fundamentalist symbiosis. Militarized troops attacked “Nine Zero,” the MQM head office, in March 2015, seizing a substantial quantity of weaponry reportedly taken from NATO shipments. This was followed by a string of raids on MQM facilities around the city, during which top party leaders were detained.
Demise of MQM
With Musharraf no longer a dictator, military abandoned the MQM. The combat actions and assaults against MQM eroded the party’s previously reduced credibility, leading several top officials to flee it . Hussein delivered his presently statement in which he slammed Pakistan. Not only did he bring out against the state, but he also referred to it as “a disease for the entire globe. The core of violent extremism for the entire world” and advocated for its demise. Farooq Sattar, MQM’s senior leader, withdrew to form his own MQM-P, and nine zero was shuttered in reaction to Husein’s statements. As a result, not only was the 2018 general election terrible for the MQM, but also for Muhajir nationalism. MQM was relegated to four seats, down from the 17 it had gained in 2013. Internal divisions, a shortage of resources, operational inadequacy, a spike in non-traditional voters, and a loss of credibility eventually drove the MQM down.
Muslims who migrated to Pakistan after August 1947 did really out of fear of victimization in post-independence India. Their quest for identification began in India and tragically lasted for centuries when they came to Pakistan. Muhajirs were formerly an affluent, aristocratic, and educated community in Pakistan, but their position among other ethnic groups has dwindled over the years. The first rumblings of a Muhajir awareness emerged in the early 1970s, sparked by government policies that harmed their career advancement possibilities in Sindh. Shifting demographics, ethno-political disputes, militant and separatist organisations, and entrenched political lobbying groups have all affected the Muhajirs’ perception of their role in society today throughout the generations. MQM arose as a group supposedly representing Muhajir frustrations but quickly devolved into a terror syndicate, undermining the validity of the Muhajir movement. Altaf Hussein’s once-powerful MQM is now fragmented along philosophical, political, and psychological grounds. Due to a sequence of events, the notion of a single united party representing Muhajirs has essentially disintegrated.
Issues with structure and ideology For the time being, the movement is best defined as’diasporic,’ because its leader has been in fugitive ever since early 1990s, but he has been relatively effective in managing the party from London, approaching demonstrations through live stream. Nevertheless, the MQM now seems to have little political influence and has ended up losing most of its clout in Karachi. In the meantime, Hussein’s disappearance from the nation and constant hysteria have produced a sense of desperation amid top officials to reinvent the MQM without Hussein.
No Alternatives for Taliban but Danger of Future Civil Conflict
Events and processes in Afghanistan are moving according to a negative scenario. Despite the significant information blockade, there is still some news regarding the situation in Afghanistan. The country’s economy is deplorable and has no significant moves towards stabilization. The humanitarian situation is stable but critical. Political repression against the Taliban’s opponents continues and became systemic. And it mainly occurred against national minorities, in particular Tajiks and Hazaras. The actions of global terrorist groups also cause particular concern and warning among reliable international players. Statements regarding threats from international terrorists are made by the UN, the USA, India, and the countries of the European Union.
Paradoxically, despite the difficult economic and social situation, political transformations are still problematic to foresee. Afghanistan under the Taliban run is a classic case from the theory of political science of a rigid militarized authoritarian regime with average legitimacy. The masses cannot express their political views given repressions by government institutions. There is no rule in Afghanistan yet that could challenge the Taliban nationally. Currently, and possibly in the mid-term, there is no alternative to the Taliban. The opposition, consisting of national minorities, does not have the necessary military potential and support among the population. Regardless, international diplomatic circles and representatives of the world’s leading countries actively explain to the Taliban leaders that such a situation won’t last forever. The world centers of power are not interested in the total destabilization of Afghanistan and the beginning of a civil-military confrontation there. As the socio-economic situation of the Pashtuns, who form the core of the Taliban, deteriorates, contradictions can result in an armed uprising. And even the most oppressed ethnic groups will sooner or later begin to resist the authoritarian control of the Taliban.
One of the factual aspects of possible future destabilization could be Pakistan’s policy. Even though Islamabad is the key creator, sponsor, and mentor of the radical Islamist movement, which used terrorism as a method of political struggle, there are certain contradictions between them. In September, the Pakistani leaders decided to expel all Afghan refugees illegally living in the country. According to Pakistani media, this means that about 1.1 million Afghans will go to Afghanistan in the near future. The Pakistani government states that this number of Afghans have fled to Pakistan in the past two years — in addition to several million others living in the neighboring country for years. The decision to expel illegal Afghan refugees was made against the background of the fight against terrorism, currency smuggling, and illegal trade in sugar and fertilizers.
Ariana News informs that the plan to deport more than 1.1 million Afghan refugees was supported by the government and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. It also means the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Pakistan consulted with all interested parties, including the Taliban. The Pakistani police have raided Afghan migrants over the past few months. Hundreds have been arrested, and many have already been dispatched homeland. Most Afghan migrants are Pashtuns from the poorest rural areas, but their mass flow to Afghanistan will lead to additional economic and social difficulties.
The contradictions between the Taliban and Pakistan also lie on a different plane. So, the recent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, wreaking havoc, paints an alarming picture of rising instability across Pakistan. Especially the TTP’s recent incursion into the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bordering Afghanistan is very concerning for the Pakistan military apparatus. According to the Pakistanis themselves, after the seizure of power in Kabul, terrorist groups intensified on the territory of Pakistan. Before the Taliban’s victory, official Islamabad spread the narrative that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban were unrelated. However, today, it is becoming evident that this is not the case, and strengthening one unit leads to activating another.
It is difficult to predict the political events in Afghanistan, but it is evident that without attention from the responsible world centers of power, destabilization and strengthening of the international terrorist underground is unavoidable.
The Tug-of-War of Regionalism in South Asia
The South Asian area, encompassing countries such as Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, exhibits a significant degree of variety, accompanied by a multitude of intricate factors. The establishment of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) in 1985 was a sincere endeavor to cultivate regionalism within the subcontinent. Notwithstanding its conceptual merit, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has seen limited success in realizing its goals, principally due to the persistent tensions between its prominent constituents, India and Pakistan. The absence of coherent political intent has adversely affected regionalism in South Asia.
From an economic standpoint, it can be observed that South Asia is now experiencing rapid growth, positioning it as one of the most swiftly developing areas globally. India, characterized by its burgeoning middle class and notable technical progress, assumes a prominent role in the global arena. Nevertheless, smaller economies such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have comparable growth rates. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) implemented by China has developed as a notable economic entity in the area, giving rise to both prospects and concerns. The issue of significant debt obligations linked to Chinese investment has raised apprehension.
The political structures in South Asia exhibit significant variations. India, being the greatest democracy globally, stands in contrast to its neighboring nations, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which have had instances of military coups and civil turmoil throughout their history. In contrast, Bhutan continues to function as a monarchy, employing a distinctive methodology for pursuing progress, which is evaluated by means of Gross National Happiness as opposed to Gross Domestic Product. The presence of a wide range of political systems presents significant obstacles to the process of regional integration. The growing engagement of China in South Asia has prompted a reconfiguration of geopolitical interests. Nations such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives are progressively turning their attention to China in search of economic opportunities and military collaborations, thereby introducing complexities to the regional dynamics. Moreover, the United States’ strategic shift towards Asia highlights the growing significance of this area within the context of global geopolitics. Given the competing interests of these more influential nations, the smaller nations within the area frequently encounter themselves ensnared in a precarious position.
The South Asian area has a diverse array of religions and ethnicities, contributing to the intricate nature of interregional dynamics. The socio-political ramifications of the Hindu-Muslim split, Buddhist communities, and Sikh populations, among other groups, are noteworthy. The adverse impact of the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka and the religious difference between India and Pakistan on the promotion of regionalism is evident.
Border issues, such as the ongoing Kashmir war between the neighboring nations of India and Pakistan, pose substantial obstacles to the establishment of regional cooperation. Moreover, the matter of terrorism, sometimes endorsed by states or at the very least allowed by certain nations, presents a security concern that complicates the prospect of enhanced collaboration. The subject of climate change is gaining prominence as a matter of great importance that South Asian nations cannot afford to overlook. The geographical area under consideration encompasses many climatic hotspots, notably the Himalayas and the Sundarbans, which are progressively vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as the retreat of glaciers and the escalation of sea levels. The presence of environmental concerns has the potential to intensify pre-existing social and political conflicts. Water shortage has the potential to exacerbate disputes between governments that have shared river systems. As the South Asian area increasingly assimilates into the global digital world, it is imperative for the region to confront and address the challenges pertaining to cybersecurity. This encompasses a wide range of issues, spanning from safeguarding data privacy to addressing the challenges posed by online radicalization and cyber warfare. The significance of the socio-political components of these difficulties cannot be overstated, as the progress in technology has the potential to either facilitate regional collaboration or exacerbate rivalry and conflict.
The subject of gender equality in South Asia is undergoing significant socio-political transformations. The involvement of women in politics, business, and social action is seeing a notable upward trend, potentially yielding significant consequences for the growth and cooperation of the area. Nevertheless, persistent challenges such as cultural barriers, institutional inequalities, and gender-based violence remain significant obstacles.
The significant impact of media on creating public perception and subsequently affecting socio-political dynamics cannot be emphasized enough. Within the context of South Asia, the media frequently assumes a dual function, wherein it may serve as a conduit for promoting comprehension and collaboration or, alternatively, as a mechanism for disseminating propaganda that exacerbates societal divisions. The aforementioned phenomenon is clearly observable in the manner in which media outlets across different nations depict their neighboring countries, hence exerting a substantial influence on the potential for regional collaboration.
In light of evolving global dynamics, governments in South Asia are actively forging alliances that extend beyond their conventional allies. The interplay between India’s burgeoning ties with the United States, Pakistan’s alignment with China, and Sri Lanka’s approach to Russia has significant implications for regional politics. The task of managing these collaborations while sustaining regional stability is a multifaceted endeavor that necessitates careful equilibrium on the part of each country involved.
The socio-political dynamics of South Asia are multi-faceted, influenced by a rich tapestry of historical events, cultural diversities, and geopolitical factors. While traditional challenges like territorial disputes and political polarization continue to hinder regionalism, new dimensions such as climate change, cybersecurity, and gender equality are adding layers of complexity. However, despite these challenges, there remains an untapped potential for collaboration and growth. As South Asia evolves, understanding these intricate dynamics will be key to unlocking the region’s full potential.
Pakistan’s Role in the United Nations
Pakistan, since its inception in 1947, has played a pivotal role in the United Nations (UN), contributing significantly to global efforts in promoting peace, security, stability, and development. With a commitment to multilateral diplomacy and a history of active participation in various UN initiatives, Pakistan has emerged as a responsible and reliable member of the international community. Pakistan has played very important role in the United Nations and its contributions to global peace, security, stability, and development are always acknowledged.
One of the most visible and significant contributions of Pakistan to the UN is its involvement in peacekeeping missions. Pakistan is consistently among the top contributors of troops and personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Pakistan had deployed over 6,000 troops and police officers in various UN peacekeeping missions around the world, making it one of the largest troop contributors.
Pakistan’s peacekeepers have been stationed in conflict zones across the globe, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, and Haiti, where they have played a crucial role in maintaining peace, delivering humanitarian aid, and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction. These efforts have not only earned Pakistan international recognition but have also made a tangible difference in the lives of people affected by conflicts.
Advocacy for Disarmament
Pakistan has consistently advocated for disarmament and non-proliferation efforts within the United Nations. As a nuclear-armed state, Pakistan understands the grave consequences of nuclear warfare and has actively participated in disarmament negotiations. It has supported initiatives such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to promote global disarmament.
Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees
Pakistan has a long history of hosting refugees, particularly from neighboring Afghanistan. The country has welcomed millions of Afghan refugees over the decades, providing them with shelter, education, and healthcare. Pakistan’s efforts in this regard align with the UN’s mission to protect and assist refugees, contributing to regional stability and human development.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Pakistan is committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The government has taken significant steps to align its national development agenda with the SDGs, focusing on poverty reduction, gender equality, clean energy, and climate action, among other areas. Pakistan’s dedication to these goals demonstrates its commitment to global development and a sustainable future.
Climate Change Action
Pakistan recognizes the urgent need to address climate change, and it has actively engaged in international climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The country has committed to reducing its carbon emissions and increasing its reliance on clean energy sources. Pakistan’s participation in global climate efforts contributes to the stability and sustainability of the planet.
Mediation and Conflict Resolution
Pakistan has often played a role in mediating conflicts in the region, demonstrating its commitment to regional and global peace. It has facilitated talks between various parties in Afghanistan and has sought peaceful solutions to regional disputes, aligning with the UN’s mission to prevent and resolve conflicts.
On behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, attended the 78th Session of UN General Assembly and delivered a speech on 22 September 2023. The highlights of his speech are:
1. I convey to you, Mr. President, our warm congratulations on your election to guide the work of this historic Session of the UN General Assembly. I am confident that your vast diplomatic experience, and the sunny disposition of your beautiful Island country, will enable you to steer this Assembly to a most successful conclusion.
2. We are meeting at a tense and pivotal moment in modern history. Conflicts rage in Ukraine and in 50 other places around the world. Tensions between the global powers have continued to escalate. We see the rise of new and old military and political blocs. Geo-politics is resurging when geo-economics should have primacy in the world. The world cannot afford Cold War 2.0. There are far greater challenges confronting humankind which demand global cooperation and collective action.
3. The world’s economic prospects also appear gloomy. Global growth is slow. High interest rates could trigger a recession. A succession of exogenous “shocks” – Covid, conflict and climate change – have devastated the economies of many developing countries; many countries of the global South have barely managed to stave off defaults. Poverty and hunger have grown, reversing the development gains of three decades.
4. At yesterday’s SDG Summit, far-reaching commitments were made to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. We must ensure implementation of the “SDG Stimulus”; the re-channeling of unused Special Drawing Rights for development; the expansion of concessional lending by the Multilateral Development Banks; and the resolution of the debt problems of the 59 countries in debt distress.
5. Pakistan also looks forward to the fulfillment of the climate change commitments made at COP28 by the developed world: to provide over $100 billion in annual climate finance; allocate at least half of such finance for adaptation in developing countries; operationalise the Fund and funding arrangements for Loss and Damage; and accelerate their carbon emission mitigation targets to “keep alive” the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade. Attempts to selectively provide these funds on the basis of geo-political considerations should be resisted.
6. Pakistan’s triple food, fuel & finance challenge, is a prime illustration of the impacts of Covid, conflicts and climate on developing countries. Pakistan is one of the worst affected countries from the impacts of climate change. The epic floods of last summer submerged a third of our country, killed 1700 and displaced over 8 million people, destroyed vital infrastructure and caused over $30 billion in damage to Pakistan’s economy.
7. Pakistan is gratified by the commitments of over $10.5 billion for Pakistan’s comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction with resilience – the 4RF Plan – at the Geneva Conference last January. Specific projects are being submitted to ensure timely funding and execution of the 4RF Plan. I hope our development partners will accord priority to allocation (release) of funds for our “resilient” recovery Plan which has been costed at $13 billion.
8. Pakistan’s government is committed to rapid economic recovery. We will stabilize our foreign exchange reserves and our currency; expand domestic revenues and, most importantly, mobilize significant domestic and external investment. To this end, we have established a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to expedite investment decisions. Twenty-eight projects have been identified in priority sectors – agriculture, mining, energy and IT – for implementation in collaboration with Pakistan’s partners.
9. Pakistan’s long-term shift to geo-economics is well underway. The second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been initiated covering railway, infrastructure, and manufacturing projects.
10. Pakistan also looks forward to the early implementation of the “Connectivity” projects with Central Asia.
11. Development depends on peace. Pakistan is situated in one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. Pakistan believes that regions develop together. Therefore, Pakistan desires peaceful and productive relations with all our neighbours, including India. Kashmir is the key to peace between Pakistan and India.
12. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the Security Council. India has evaded implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions which call for the “final disposition” of Jammu and Kashmir to be decided by its people through UN-supervised plebiscite.
13. Since 5 August 2019, India has deployed 900,000 troops in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to impose the “Final Solution” for Kashmir. To this end, India has imposed extended lockdowns and curfews; jailed all the genuine Kashmir leaders; violently suppressed peaceful protests; resorted to extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake “encounters” and so-called “cordon and search operations”, and imposed collective punishments, destroying entire villages. Access to occupied Kashmir, demanded by the UN High Commission for Human Rights and over a dozen Special Rapporteurs, has been denied by New Delhi.
14. The UN Security Council must secure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir. The UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be reinforced. Global powers should convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restraint on strategic and conventional weapons.
15. Peace in Afghanistan is a strategic imperative for Pakistan. Pakistan shares the concerns of international community with respect to Afghanistan particularly the rights of women and girls. Yet, we advocate continued humanitarian assistance to a destitute Afghan population in which Afghan girls and women are the most vulnerable; as well as revival of the Afghan economy and implementation of the connectivity projects with Central Asia.
16. Pakistan’s first priority is to prevent and counter all terrorism from and within Afghanistan. Pakistan condemns the cross- border terrorist attacks against Pakistan by the TTP, Daesh and other groups operating from Afghanistan. We have sought Kabul’s support and cooperation to prevent these attacks. However, we are also taking necessary measures to end this externally encouraged terrorism.
17. Pakistan welcomes the progress made towards ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. In particular, we warmly welcome the normalization of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unfortunately, the tragedy of Palestine continues, with Israeli military raids, airstrikes, expansion of settlements and evictions of Palestinians. Durable peace can be established only through a two state solution and the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State within the pre June 1967 borders, with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.
18. UN peacekeeping has been a success story. Over more than 6 decades, Pakistan has contributed 230,000 peacekeepers in 47 Missions across the world. Today, UN peacekeepers face complex and unprecedented challenges especially from criminal and terrorist groups, as in the Sahel. We must ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers. Pakistan shall continue to work with the UN to develop the capabilities and more robust mandates required for successful enforcement actions by UN and international forces where needed.
19. We must counter all terrorists without discrimination, including the rising threat posed by far-right extremist and fascist groups, such as Hindutva-inspired extremists threatening genocide against India’s Muslims and Christians. We also need to oppose “state terrorism”; address the root causes of terrorism, such as poverty, injustice and foreign occupation; and distinguish genuine freedom struggles from terrorism. Pakistan proposes the creation of a Committee of the General Assembly to oversee the balanced implementation of all four pillars of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
20. Our progress based on rich history of cooperation, understanding, exchange and synthesis of ideas among (the) civilizations is imperiled today. The narratives advocating a clash of civilizations have done considerable harm to humanity’s progress. Such ideas have bred extremism, hatred and religious intolerance, including Islamophobia. Make no mistake; it is a latent threat that undermines millennia of progress. We need to cherish and celebrate our diversity and different ways of life. Mutual respect, sanctity of religious symbols, scriptures and personages should be ensured.
21. While Islamophobia is an age-old phenomenon; however, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has assumed epidemic proportions, as manifested in the negative profiling of Muslims; and attacks on Islamic sites and symbols, such as the recent public burnings of the Holy Quran.
22. Last year, this Assembly adopted a Resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, declaring 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Council adopted an OIC resolution submitted by Pakistan, urging States to outlaw the burning of the Holy Quran and similar provocations. We welcome the legislation initiated by Denmark and contemplated by Sweden towards this end. Pakistan and the OIC countries will propose further steps to combat Islamophobia, including the appointment of a Special Envoy, creation of an Islamophobia data Centre, legal assistance to victims and an accountability process to punish Islamophobic crimes.
23. The complex global and regional challenges that the world faces today can be best addressed through effective multilateralism within the framework of the United Nations. However, multilateralism is being eschewed due to the unilateral policies of and strategic rivalry and tensions between global powers. Pakistan will continue to work actively to strengthen multilateral institutions and enhance global cooperation.
24. Pakistan looks forward to continuing negotiations on the scope and elements of the Summit of the Future and the Pact for the Future, building on the convergences that emerged in earlier consultations.
25. The Summit’s preparatory process must not disrupt existing negotiating processes such as the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council.
26. Pakistan does not believe in elitism within the comity of nations. The UN Charter principles of equality and sovereignty must be preserved in the interest of global peace and prosperity. Pakistan believes that adding additional permanent members to the Security Council will further erode its credibility and legitimacy. The widest possible agreement can be best achieved on the basis of the Uniting for Consensus Group’s proposal for expansion of the Council only in the non-permanent category with provision for a limited number of longer-term seats.
27. Pakistan believes that to build, preserve and promote peace and prosperity today, and in the future, it is vital to reduce great power rivalry and tensions; ensure strict adherence to the UN Charter; consistently implement Security Council resolutions; eliminate the root causes of conflicts; and respect the principles of non-use of force; self-determination; sovereignty and territorial integrity; noninterference in the internal affairs of States and peaceful co- existence.
28. Pakistan will work diligently and actively with all Member States to realize these vital elements of a new, equitable and peaceful world order.
Pakistan’s role in the United Nations is marked by its unwavering commitment to global peace, security, stability, and development. Through active participation in peacekeeping missions, advocacy for disarmament, humanitarian assistance, commitment to the SDGs, climate change action, and mediation efforts, Pakistan has consistently shown its dedication to the principles and goals of the United Nations. As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan continues to make significant contributions that benefit not only its own citizens but also people around the world, reinforcing the importance of multilateral diplomacy and cooperation in addressing global challenges.
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