PM Khan criticizes West’s ‘selective silence’ on Kashmir situation

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said the West has remained silent about the Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IoK), where the worst human rights violations had been committed by the Indian forces.

During an interaction with the Chinese media, the premier said: “There is selective silence over Kashmir,” adding that the IoK had been turned into an “open prison” by 800,000 Indian troops, and “such silence on Kashmir was deafening which was based upon double standards.”

“What we find very difficult to swallow in Pakistan is that while they talk about Uighurs, they do not talk much in the West about the IoK,” the prime minister noted.

Speaking about the Afghanistan crisis, PM Imran Khan said the country had suffered for the last 40 years as some countries had turned its soil into a battleground.

“After 40 years, the war-weary country has got a chance for peace,” he said, adding that the international community did not think of the Afghans after the foreign troops’ withdrawal.

“They did not think how these impoverished people would survive,” he further added.

The premier was of the view that when the Soviets left Afghanistan, there was “utter chaos and casualties”.

“Now everyone has abandoned Afghanistan. I am speaking about 40 million Afghan people currently facing worst humanitarian crises,” he said, warning that the same chaos and destruction could return to Afghanistan which occurred after Soviets’ pullout.

PM Imran Khan called upon the international community to focus on the welfare of the Afghan people immediately as “they need help.”

‘We want to emulate Chinese model of inclusive growth’

While expressing his eagerness to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 during his upcoming visit to China, he said that the time-tested ties between the two countries had grown strongly over a period of time.

The premier said both countries have a bond of friendship spanning over a period of 70 years, which was further cemented with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said: “There is a feeling in Pakistan that China always stood with us in times of need and supported us during difficult times. Similarly, Pakistan was always there with China.”

Answering a query, he said that the most impressive thing about China which has been acknowledged by the entire world was its success in taking 700 million people out of poverty during the last 30 or 40 years, adding that this was a huge achievement in human history.

“It is this fact which has impressed me as it coincides with my objective of steering my people [Pakistanis] out of poverty,” he added.

The prime minister maintained that they would like to emulate the steps taken by China to alleviate poverty.

“We want to emulate the Chinese model of inclusive growth. Their economic growth highlights the prosperity of all the people living there,” he maintained.

The prime minister said such inclusive growth excludes the bridge between the rich and the poor. “China had been a model for all those countries that wanted to have inclusive growth,” he highlighted.

Such growth, he said, also contributed to wealth creation.

“China remained focused on the economy and when it attained its growth target, its fruits trickled down to all strata of society.”

Pakistan seek assistance to help improve productivity

Speaking about Pakistan’s focus on geo-economics strategy, the premier stressed upon strengthening its economy which according to him had, unfortunately, never been paid attention to in the past.

About the CPEC, the prime minister said its first phase was focused on connectivity and the energy sector, but now they were developing special economic zones and agriculture, seeking Chinese cooperation to help improve their productivity, crops yield and livestock, citing the latest varieties of the cotton crop as developed by China.

Referring to the IT sector as another realm of cooperation, he opined that China had made strides in the IT field.

Identifying another field of cooperation between the two countries, he said that they would be learning from the Chinese experience about building megacities and coping with the problems of air pollution, and waste disposal etc.

He mentioned that Pakistan has been witnessing urbanisation at the fastest pace and the Chinese model of urban development would be of great help.

‘I do not get time for sports’

Replying to a question, he said his upcoming visit to China in the next week would provide him with an opportunity to witness the Winter Olympics. Despite being a sportsman for about 20 years, he had not witnessed such an event in the past.

Being in politics, he did not get time for sports, the premier lamented.

The prime minister said that they would also teach the Chinese nation to play cricket, expressing hope that the Chinese would excel in this game as they had shown excellent performance in the Olympics games during the last few years.