Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, emphasizing that terrorism does not have a religion. “It is based on dogma, fueled by poverty, deprivation, injustice, and ignorance, and fanned by vested interests,” the Premier stated.

During his debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Prime Minister said, “Pakistan is the principal victim of terrorism. Over the last two decades, we have suffered more than 80,000 casualties and over $150 billion in economic losses due to terrorist attacks. Our armed forces, with the support of our people, have broken the back of terrorism within Pakistan. Yet, we continue to suffer terrorist attacks from across our borders, sponsored and financed by our regional adversary. We are determined to defeat such cross-border terrorism.”

Talking about Islamophobia, Shehbaz Sharif said that it is a global phenomenon. “Since 9/11, suspicion and fear of Muslims and discrimination against them have escalated to epidemic proportions. The officially sponsored campaign of oppression against India’s over 200 million Muslims is the worst manifestation of Islamophobia,” said the Premier.

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Continuing in the same vein, Sharif said that Muslims in India are subjected to discriminatory laws and policies, Hijab bans, attacks on mosques, and lynchings by Hindu mobs. “I am particularly concerned by the calls for ‘genocide’ against India’s Muslims by some extremist groups,” he told the General Assembly.

“Pakistan needs a stable external environment. We look for peace with all our neighbours, including India,” the Prime Minister said, offering an olive branch to its regional arch rival. “Sustainable peace and stability in South Asia, however, remain contingent upon a just and lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. At the heart of this longstanding dispute lies the denial of the inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination,” he said.

Talking about India, PM said, “India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, to change the internationally recognised disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory further undermined the prospects of peace and inflamed regional tensions. India’s relentless campaign of repression against Kashmiris has continued to grow in scale and intensity.”

“In pursuit of this heinous goal. New Delhi has ramped up its military deployments in occupied Jammu and Kashmir to 900,000 troops, thus making it the most militarized zone in the world. The serial brutalization of Kashmiris takes many forms: extrajudicial killings, incarceration, custodial torture and death, indiscriminate use of force, deliberate targeting of Kashmiri youth with pellet guns, and ‘collective punishments’ imposed on entire communities.”

“India is seeking to turn the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir into a Hindu-majority territory, through illegal demographic changes. Millions of fake domicile certificates have been issued to non-Kashmiris; Kashmiri land and properties are being seized; electoral districts have been Jerry Mandered, and over 2.5 million non-Kashmiri illegal voters fraudulently registered. All this is in blatant violation of Security Council resolutions and international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention,” said Shehbaz.

The PM made a passionate appeal to the world on Friday to undo the ‘climate injustice’ done to countries like Pakistan that make little contribution to global warming and yet face its worst consequences.

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“Why are my people paying the price of such high global warming through no fault of their own?” the premier asked.

“Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this,” he stressed, adding that he came to the UN to “explain first hand” the scale and magnitude of the climate catastrophe that has pushed one-third of the country under water in a super storm that no one has seen in living memory.

“For 40 days and 40 nights a flood of biblical proportions poured down on us, smashing centuries of weather records, challenging everything we knew about the disaster, and how to manage it,” the prime minister said.

“Even today, huge swathes of the country are still underwater, submerged in an ocean of human suffering. In this ground zero of climate change, 33 million people, including women and children, are now at high risk from health hazards, with 650,000 women giving birth in makeshift tarpaulins,” he told the world.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan had never seen a more stark and devastating example of the impact of Global Warming. “Life in Pakistan has changed forever. People in Pakistan ask why, why has this happened to them? When global warming rips apart whole families and an entire country at this ferocious speed, it is time to ask why, and time to ask not what can be done but what MUST be done,” said the PM while explaining how this calamity had affected hearts and minds in Pakistan.