Imran's Speech Draws Criticism
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) drew the attention of a large number of Pakistanis, who feel that the UN platform should not just be used for sabre rattling with India and on security issues. Rather it should also be used for issues critical to Pakistan, focusing on the country’s growth and progress
While the Americans knew of this siphoning off exercise, they realised that this was part of a give and take arrangement where the Pakistanis would prefer them to look away on their spending and instead focus on Pakistani support to their military operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan has always used the tribal belts for breeding terror groups and encouraged growth of numerous radical Islamic entities which have morphed into larger entities, at times even targeting the Pakistan Army.
As a civilised nation with a strong and powerful military, a fact that Imran Khan reiterated during his speech, Pakistan should have prevented such localised activities by radical entities in the tribal areas. In fact, during the speech, he admitted that once these terror entities turned against Pakistan post 9/11, hitting out at soft and hard targets, the Pakistan Army was compelled to move into the tribal areas “where they had never ventured in the past”.
This latter statement by Imran khan comes as a surprise and lends credence to the fact that the Pakistani state and the Army never bothered to secure an area which has historically been known to be hotbed of criminal and terror-related activities. It was an intentional and planned strategy to let these groups mushroom in this “safe sanctuary” catered by the Pakistani state. On the Kashmir issue and specifically on Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Imran Khan dedicated significant time and energy ranting out the traditional lines which the UNGA is used to listening to.
A copy-paste version of previous UNGA speeches by heads of past Pakistani delegations, the script on Kashmir had nothing new. Moreover, committing so much of this precious time slot to highlight the Geelani episode instead of a host of other relevant issues affecting his country goes to show that ‘Kashmir and Geelani’ were more of a diversionary tactic drawing away public attention from Pakistan’s internal problems.