Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has been praised in many quarters. On social media Imran Khan’s speech continues to be shared, as some have hailed him a hero for calling out India’s draconian measures in occupied Kashmir and for urging global leaders to stand up against the occupier. Others have hailed him for wearing traditional clothes, whilst others hailed the fact that someone finally stood up for Muslims and raised their plight on the international arena.
In his 45 minute address, Khan touched on four major themes: climate change, money laundering, Islamophobia and Kashmir. On climate change Khan spoke about the effect that this was having on Pakistan’s water situation and how Pakistan has planted lots of trees and plans to plant more – nearly 10 billion more.
On corruption, Khan highlighted that it was impoverishing the developing world. Khan begged if he could retrieve the nation’s plundered money he could spend it on human development. On Islamophobia Khan blamed radical Islam and the need to explain to the world there is one Islam – the Prophet’s (ﷺ) Islam.
On Kashmir, Khan outlined his relationship with India: “let me tell you my relationship with India. Because of cricket, which is followed with great passion in the subcontinent, I have great friends in India. I’ve always loved going to India. So my first move was to reach out to Modi and I said let’s work our differences, leave our past behind.” Khan explained it was a critical time and Pakistan will be blamed should something happen.
The rulers of a nation should be measured on their actions and not their statements. Being in a position of power gives a ruler the ability to execute actions and for this reason it’s a ruler’s actions that should do the talking – not their words. Where rulers make promises, these should be measured in their execution.
The fact that Imran Khan was addressing leaders at the UN was lost on him despite the fact that the UN is a central player in the misery of not just the Muslim world, but most of the world. It was lost on him that this organisation that divides the world into nation states and is dominated by five permanent members, divided the world amongst themselves after World War 2. The UN will forever make him and the Muslim world subservient to their political will.
Imran Khan highlighted a number of times in his speech that the world has placed material gain over human life. He blamed the world for many of the problems quoting a number of statistics, but his actions since he has come to power has been little different. In Afghanistan, Imran Khan has carried on with the policy of successive regimes of aiding America in Afghanistan and saving it from drowning by facilitating talks with the Taliban. The Taliban have defeated the global superpower and bled it to death, but Khan highlighted he cannot go to war with India. In another speech in the US, he highlighted he didn’t believe in war to settle disputes and had suddenly become a pacifist. Nothing practical, no road map, no terms, threats or ultimatum was issued by Imran Khan as India laid siege to the Muslims in Kashmir. The deployment of troops or the arming of the Kashmiri people, well within his capability, were not offered.
Imran Khan has been giving speeches as part of his political strategy for years, but now that he has been in power for over a year, nothing practical has materialised. Despite his fighting words and the euphoria over his speech, what now? What next? What practical actions will be undertaken? The only practical act offered was a media channel addressing Islamophobia. Leaving aside the fact Islamaphobia is manufactured by think-tanks in the West, surely the only way to present Islam and deal with any propaganda would be to implement Islam at home and make it the basis of the country’s foreign policy! Is this not the Madina model?
Fundamentally Imran Khan’s speech was from a position of weakness when really Pakistan and the Muslims are in a position of strength. The world has turned to fascism and nationalism, comedians and reality TV stars, as global capitalism only works for the 1%. There is global appetite for change, the world is abandoning global institutions and the ideas that underpin them, but Imran Khan begged for their help and intermediation.
The sad reality is within a week the euphoria of Imran Khan’s speech will be a distant memory as the real challenges of a dysfunctional economy, drowning in both debt and inflation and incompetent governance in Pakistan will be even more glaring, than how Imran Khan left them, as he boarded his flight to the US. Narendra Modi let his actions do the talking when he annexed Kashmir. Imran Khan delivers fighting words, but despite possessing a straight bat he continues to leave the ball.
The unfortunate reality is Imran Khan should never have spoken at the UN, but should have let his actions do the talking. He should have threatened India with an ultimatum if it did not reverse its occupation and gathered other Muslim countries as a bloc against India. Imran Khan should have threatened India with the arming of all its separatist groups if it did not reverse its occupation. Imran should have threatened India that it will supply arms to the Muslims of Indian occupied Kashmir in order that they can defend themselves if India does not reverse its occupation. If Imran Khan did this, then his words and actions would be in sync and his actions would reverberate around the world much louder than his speeches.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْمَلِكِ بْنُ قُدَامَةَ الْجُمَحِيُّ، عَنْ إِسْحَاقَ بْنِ أَبِي الْفُرَاتِ، عَنِ الْمَقْبُرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ سَيَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ سَنَوَاتٌ خَدَّاعَاتٌ يُصَدَّقُ فِيهَا الْكَاذِبُ وَيُكَذَّبُ فِيهَا الصَّادِقُ وَيُؤْتَمَنُ فِيهَا الْخَائِنُ وَيُخَوَّنُ فِيهَا الأَمِينُ وَيَنْطِقُ فِيهَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ قِيلَ وَمَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ قَالَ الرَّجُلُ التَّافِهُ فِي أَمْرِ الْعَامَّةِ ” .
“There will come to the people years of treachery, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the traitor will be regarded as faithful, and the faithful man will be regarded as a traitor; and the Ruwaibidah will decide matters.’ It was said: ‘Who are the Ruwaibidah?’ He said: ‘Vile and base men who control the affairs of the people.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah 4036]