New York, United Nations 27 Sept 2019, Daily Dawn
The highlight of his more than 45-minute-long speech was intense criticism of India for its annexation of occupied Kashmir and the continued restrictions imposed in the region.
The premier began his wide-ranging, at times apparently extemporaneous speech by saying he feels honoured to represent Pakistan at the world forum.
He said he would not have come to the UN if he did not feel that some “urgent issues” needed to be addressed.
The issue which the prime minister talked in most detail about was the oppression of the people of occupied Kashmir. “When we came to power, we swore that we would try to bring peace.
“We went to fight the war on terror and we faced losses of [thousands of people]. “I opposed the war because in the 1980s we joined the struggle against the Soviets funded by western countries.
“The mujahideen were trained by the Pakistan Army and they waged the freedom struggle. The Soviets called them terrorists and we called them freedom fighters.
“In 1989 soviets retreated; the Americans packed up and left. Here we had indoctrinated them in jihad against foreign occupation and now that the US had taken over, we were supposed to tell them it’s no longer jihad.
“And so the US turned against us and it was a nightmare. “Taliban were in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda was there; what did Pakistan have to do with it? “When we came to power we decided we would dismantle what was left. I know India keeps alleging that these groups are there.
“I welcome UN observers, see for yourself. “We now have a relationship with Afghanistan, Russia and then we wanted to mend fences with India. “I have friends in India and I love going to India. So when my party came to power, we reached out to India and (said) let’s resolve differences through trade. “(Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi said there were terrorist attacks from Pakistan. We said well we have attacks in Balochistan from your end.
“Unfortunately we didn’t make any headway. Our foreign minister was at the UNGA but they cancelled the meeting. “Meanwhile a 20-year-old Kashmiri boy blew himself up at the Indian convoy. And India blamed us.
“I spoke to the Indian public on television. I said if you give us any iota of proof, we will immediately take action, because we have clamped down on these groups. They bombed us (instead), and we retaliated.
“We immediately returned the [captured Indian] pilot, saying that we do not want an escalation.
“Rather than taking that as a peace gesture, [Modi claimed that] he had taught Pakistan a lesson; that their jets had killed 350 terrorists.
“Complete lies. They just killed 10 trees of ours which was quite painful given that we are growing all these trees.”