GENEVA: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that millions of Muslims could flee India due to the curfew in the disputed territory of Kashmir and India’s new citizenship law, creating “a refugee crisis that would dwarf other crises”.
Khan, addressing the Global Forum on Refugees in Geneva, said: “We are worried there not only could be a refugee crisis, we are worried it could lead to a conflict between two nuclear-armed countries.”
“Our country will not be able to accommodate more refugees,” he added, urging the world to “step in now”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday forewarned the world community about the possible consequences which might inflict the neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan once the refugees’ crises started unfolding itself in the wake of illegal and unilateral steps taken by the Indian government in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and in Assam.
Addressing the opening session of the First Global Refugee Forum of the United Nations, the prime minister said that Pakistan had been through the biggest refugees crises in the history of mankind.
Pakistan had hosted about 4.5 million Afghan refugees and still it had a total of about 3 million refugees on its soil, he said, adding such a generosity was mainly inspired from the life lessons of the Holy Prophet (Peace be Upon Him).
The Global Refugee Forum – the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century – was jointly hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the
Government of Switzerland.
The prime minster, who co-hosted the opening session, also underlined the
issues which the countries like Pakistan, had to face in hosting a huge chunk of refugees and said the countries which had no resources with challenges to look after their population and meet their basic needs, had to spend funds on the human development, might be crippled with the refugees’ issue.
The prime minister said richer countries could not imagine the impacts of such crises, though the European countries for the first time, had started realizing it in the shape of migrants’ influx.
Pakistan, he said was
facing the issue of massive unemployment and as prime minister, he knew that they had to face problems on daily basis as the people wanted jobs. “I am very proud of my people, the way, they hosted the refugees and the hospitality they extended in the last forty years,” he observed.
The prime minister said he wanted to make the point that prevention was better than cure as the international community should try to save the people from becoming refugees. Drawing immediate attention of the world community, he said he especially wanted to point out that they should be aware of the impending refugees’ crisis, which was about to take place. “The world must act now and put pressure on the Indian government to prevent it from the illegal activities, otherwise there should be the biggest crisis,” he cautioned.
After August 5, the Indian forces had laid siege to the Occupied Kashmir, with eight million people shut in their homes, all the political leaders -behind bars and the communication means cut off, he added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said systematic efforts were being made to change the demography of IOJK. The Indian government was planning to settle the Hindu population in the Occupied Kashmir. “We have to face another crisis. In the UN General Assembly, during my address, I have tried to appeal to the international community to take notice,” he added. The people had been under siege, with about 900,000 Indian troops stationed there and when the curfew lifted, it would unfold the biggest crisis, he observed. The world must take notice of what was happening there, he said, alluding to dangers of any conflict between the two armed nuclear countries due to Indian aggressive and hostile designs.
“I will appeal to the world community that it is the time to act,” he reiterated.
Referring to the Indian government’s passage of the most controversial citizenship act in Assam, requiring every citizenship to prove his or her citizenship, the prime minister said in Myanmar, Muslims’ ethnic cleansing started once they were also asked to prove their citizenship. He said some two million people in Assam were in the peril due to the controversial legislation, and expressed his serious concerns over the statement of an Indian minister who touted that the same act would be implemented in the whole of India by 2024.
The prime minister requesting the UN general secretary, said they should understand the implications of such an act for the Muslims minority as 200 million Muslims were living in India.
“Anyone, who failed to prove the citizenship, would be de-registered. If they did not get citizenship where would they go. When the crisis happens, it would be more difficult to control and Pakistan would have to suffer which has already been hosting about three million refugees,” he added.
The prime minister also highlighted Pakistan’s continuous efforts for the peace process in the war-torn neighbouring country, Afghanistan, and said the only solution to the issue was a political settlement.
Pakistan was making efforts for peace process in Afghanistan as the Afghan people had been suffering from the internal conflict for the last 40 years, he said, adding the dividend of peace would benefit Pakistan and the whole region. The prime minister also lauded the Turkish government and its people for hosting the huge refugee population.
He also appreciated the UN secretary general for his strong advocacy for the issues of refugees and thanked the world bodies and the Government of Switzerland for co-hosting the event.
Earlier, the UN secretary general and other world leaders also addressed the session and stressed for the collective global efforts to effectively tackle the challenges and crises emanating from the influx of refugees.