We don’t talk about Pakistan very often since the U.S. was forced to stop drone bombing the Tribal Region 7 or 8 years ago. Today, as I was searching youtube for the UNAC account, which I might add is very difficult to bring up even though I subscribe to it, due to search engine algorithm designed to suppressing ideas outside the mainstream mandate. Today, I typed in ‘United National Antiwar Coalition UNAC Channel’ and got a whole bunch of hits on United Nations General Assembly speeches from this year.
Some years, I listen to many of the speeches at the UN General Assembly. This year I was busy with other things and more or less missed it. However, today, I came across this moving and illuminating speech by Imran Khan of Pakistan. If you don’t know much about Pakistan other than Islamophobic propaganda, listen up.
In the beginning (starting around 4:25) Khan talks about the theft of resources in the developing world by developed nations, a subject we should all be aware of. I was actually thinking about the outright theft of monies from Iran and Venezuela (among others) as I listened, but he may have been more broadly referring to the centuries of colonial extraction.
He goes on to talk about Islamophobia, in a context we don’t usually hear the term, about the racist atrocities against Muslims (and other minorities) in India under the fascist BJP government of Narendra Modi which has its roots in the RSS, the Indian Ku Klux Klan. And about the occupation of Kashmir and oppression of its people by India under BJP leadership. We don’t usually talk about it because it appears to be an internal problem within India, or a aspect of the India-Pakistan conflict, but in fact, Kashmir was given the right to choose their affiliation and government, something denied to them by the India government.
Finally, (starting around 18:59) he talks about the history of the GWOT, and how Pakistan’s role in supporting the U.S. (under Pakistani governments led by Zia al Haq and later, Pervez Musharref) led eventually to division within the Pakistani populace and U.S. routinely drone bombing Pakhtun regions of Pakistan until, at least partially due to the efforts of Khan himself, Pakistan banned them from doing so. From there he moves on to a passionate discussion of why we should not abandon Afghanistan to punish the new Taliban government, but rather we should support that government to provide for the welfare of the Afghan people. Of course, if the U.S. does destroy Afghanistan, Pakistan will also suffer.
The speech is relatively brief and well worth listening to in it’s entirety:
*Featured Image: This image is a cropped clip from the video below. However, the title says that his name came up in the Pandora files. He may be rich but he made his money playing cricket, not embezzling from the government. Moreover, as a non-westerner at risk of sanctions, he has good reason to hide his money.
Imran Khan is the current Prime Minister of Pakistan. He has been working with his Movement for Justice Party (PTI) for over a decade, building a democratic structure within the part. In 2012 he made possible a CodePink led delegation from the U.S. to Pakistan to meet with people from the tribal regions who had lost family members to U.S. Drone strikes, and to attend an anti-war rally on the boundary of the tribal area. Before becoming involved in politics, Imran Khan was a very popular Cricket player and lived a number of years in the U.K.