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
Today Pakistan is in a difficult situation economically and there is growing frustration across the country on the utter lack of employment and the high levels of inflation. There are serious problems of electricity, water and gas supplies in the country and political parties have been preparing to clash with the government on these issues. Some of the core issues on which Imran Khan could have focused are sustainable development, climate change, the impact of the Covid pandemic and how the country needs support and assistance to pull out of the present state of economic deprivation and socio-political morass, among other issues.
Instead, Imran Khan dedicated significant time towards security issues and Kashmir. On Afghanistan, his mention of how the US compelled Pakistan to tackle the Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion and then again post 9/11, drew criticism from different quarters in Pakistan. In his excitement, Imran Khan mentioned that Pakistan had to work with the Mujahideen and a number of other groups, “including the Al Qaeda”, thereby officially confirming Pakistani role in sustaining the Al Qaeda and other such entities. He even mentioned that the Mujahideen were invited to the White House during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. He went on to mention that the Mujahideen were considered “heroes”. He spoke at length on how poor nations suffered as the rich nations failed to bring in trillions of amounts stashed in the tax havens at the cost of suffering of the poorer nations.
The long rhetoric on this issue would have certainly made the Americans smirk, as they are privy to how adept Pakistan has been in diverting huge funds that the US catered for development work and also as part of defence cooperation to Pakistan. According to some US estimates, as much as 50 per cent of the total amount provided under different heads often went to different sources associated with Pakistan’s agenda of sustaining various militant groups and terror entities.