Imran arrives in New York on ‘Mission Kashmir’ – Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in New York on Saturday to highlight the problem of Kashmir in the world parliament, the UN General Assembly.

"This is Kashmir's mission for the prime minister and for Pakistan," said Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi. "His message will be clear: the occupation must end and a peaceful solution must be found for the Kashmir dispute."

The prime minister joins a galaxy of world leaders on Tuesday when the 74th session of the UN General Assembly begins its annual debate on peace and security issues.

Two meetings are scheduled between PM and Trump; MBS convinces the prime minister to travel on the previous plane

"It will highlight the plight of the Kashmir people who continue to suffer a stifling blockade and brutal occupation," Ambassador Lodhi said, adding that the prime minister would meet with world leaders and the UN secretary general.

She said the prime minister's visit had attracted great interest from the international community and the US media and that her commitments in New York included several media appearances.

This is the first visit of the Prime Minister's General Assembly and "he will be the voice of the people of Kashmir at the UN," said the ambassador.

Khan stays at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, which is owned by PIA. This is where most Pakistani leaders stayed until September 2008, when former President Asif Ali Zardari and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left him for larger hotels like Waldorf Astoria, which cost at least 20 times more than Roosevelt.

The prime minister arrived in New York over the weekend, which gives him time to consult with Pakistani diplomats and prominent members of the Pakistani American community before meeting with world leaders.

Khan's first informal engagement on Monday is breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. As always, the first official commitment of the Pakistani Prime Minister to the UN is with the Chinese representative on Monday when the Prime Minister meets with Vice President Wang Qishan.

Read: Trump, Imran will meet on the 23rd, speak to focus on Kashmir

Around 1 a.m. on Monday, the prime minister meets with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, which could be the first of the two meetings that Khan is expected to have with the leader of the United States during the UN session. This would also be President Trump's second meeting with a South Asian leader in less than 24 hours.

President Trump is scheduled to address a joint demonstration with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, Texas, on September 22, hours before meeting with the Pakistani leader. President Trump and Modi are also expected to have a separate meeting before or after the rally, focusing on relations between India and Pakistan.

Most world leaders will be in New York on Monday to participate in the general debate, which begins on Tuesday.

Pakistani and Indian prime ministers are scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 27. Modi will speak first, Friday morning, while Prime Minister Khan will speak later in the afternoon.

Prime Minister Khan has already announced that he will highlight Kashmir's problem in his speech, exposing the ethical and legal bankruptcy of the annexation of the valley occupied on August 5 by India.

Indian media reported earlier this week that Prime Minister Modi will not talk about annexation or its consequences in his speech. Instead, he would repeat New Delhi's claim that Pakistan can send militants to the valley to take advantage of the volatile situation.

Khan has made it clear that Pakistan not only opposes all such activities, but has also increased its vigilance to prevent militants from taking advantage of the situation. Islamabad fears that India may carry out violent attacks within Kashmir and blame Pakistan.

On Wednesday, Khan warned citizens not to join the fight in Kashmir in detention, saying that the Indian authorities were waiting for "any excuse" to take strong action against the people of Kashmir.

President Trump's recent comments on the Kashmir dispute have sparked speculation about an indirect dialogue between the two neighbors in South Asia during the UNGA, with Washington as a facilitator.

Earlier this week, President Trump told reporters at an informational meeting in the White House that "much progress" has been made to calm tensions between India and Pakistan and his statement strengthened these speculations.

Trump's expected meetings with the prime ministers of India and Pakistan before and during the UNGA have increased the possibility that he will take this opportunity to discuss the situation in Kashmir.

After annexing the disputed territory, India has placed millions of Kashmir people under military siege, and keeps them in solitary confinement, with thousands of them imprisoned.

UN Secretary General

On Thursday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he would raise the Kashmir problem during his talks with several leaders who attended the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations.

"I think it will also take the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it," said the spokesman for the UN chief, without naming the leaders with whom the UN chief would talk about the situation in Kashmir, controlled by the India.

The prime minister will also host a meeting at the UN with the president of Turkey, Erdogan, to counter hate speech.

A trilateral summit with Malaysia and Turkey is also planned.

He will address UNGA three more times at the Climate Change Summit, Summit on Universal Health Care and Financing for Development.

Outside the UN, the prime minister will address the Asia Society and the New York Council on Foreign Relations.

US and UN officials have made massive security arrangements around the United Nations complex on the banks of the East River to protect the world leaders attending the session.

Barricades have been erected on the roads leading to the UN building, while some streets have been closed to general traffic.

Posted on Dawn, September 22, 2019



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here