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On Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Subjective Human Rights Concerns – OpEd

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The main problem with Pakistan Prime Minister [PM] Imran Khan is his belief that the international community isn’t taking him as seriously as it should. So, it’s but natural that when the current White House occupant doesn’t ring him up, he gets upset. Similarly, when Afghan Taliban, for whom he has been [and is still] batting so hard, ‘stumps’ him by tearing down the Durand Line fencing, or refusing to rein-in Tehreek-e-Taliban [TTP], the cricketer turned politician gets livid. To make matters worse for Khan, he’s not even taken seriously at home.

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While his political opponents ungraciously refer to him as a PM “selected” by the army and not elected by the people, the people of themselves don’t seem to be particularly enthused by his grand plans of creating a “Naya [new] Pakistan” on the lines of ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa’– a replica of the welfare state established by Prophet Muhamad in Medina. Yet, thanks to his ‘never-say-die’ attitude, Khan is least perturbed and continues to advise, guide, and even chastise the international community for what he believes is their selective outrage against injustice.

While Khan may feel offended by the international community’s lack of attention to what he perceives as crucial issues with serious implications, he doesn’t seem to realise that this is only because his claims are mere apprehensions and aren’t supported by hard facts or logical inferences. So, while Khan may himself be convinced by his “I’ve played cricket in the West and I know how the Western mind works” deduction but expectedly, this puerile rationale doesn’t cut any ice with the international community. Nor does his emotionally charged but fact-deficient “materialism has trumped humanity” accusation disturb the international community.

To err may be human, but wilfully endorsing archaic beliefs and perverse dogmas is undoubtedly a criminal act. Similarly, while a person brought up in a regressive environment may be excused for exhibiting fundamentalist ideology, but for a University of Oxford alumnus like Khan, who as per his own admission knows “how the Western mind works,” to behave thus, is unpardonable. So, when he, in the most casual manner, says- “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots,” and has the gall to reinforce his perverted outlook by adding that “It’s common sense,” then how can he ever expect to be taken seriously by the international community?

Today, the entire world is unanimously urging the Taliban government in Kabul to ensure that Afghan women are not deprived of their basic rights. However, it’s apparent that Khan feels otherwise as he has come out openly in support of Taliban’s clampdown on women rights by contending that, “Every society’s idea of human rights and women rights are different.” But then, his views on Afghanistan have always been subjective-be it hailing Taliban’s violent takeover of Kabul as an act that had “broken the chains of slavery,” to terming Afghan Taliban as “normal civilians.” So much so that he even came up with the bizarre idea of “incentivising” Taliban!

In his latest attack on the West, Khan has lamented- “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 Kashmir because the worst human rights violations are taking place there by India.” This correlation was expected all along as it is an attempt to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, by giving Beijing a ‘clean chit’ despite well documented and credible reports of rampant human rights abuses and religious persecution of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, Khan has sought to repay Pakistan’s “all weather friend” for all the monetary and diplomatic support it is extending.

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On the other hand, by levelling allegations of abuses in Kashmir, [even though unsubstantiated] Khan thinks he can fool the international community into believing his pack of preposterous lies. This attempt reminds one of Islamabad’s much hyped post-Article 370 abrogation announcement that Pakistan’s Cabinet had taken an “in-principle decision,” to take the issue of human rights abuses to Hague based International Court of Justice [ICJ]and how Pakistan’s ICJ legal representative Barrister Khawar Qureshi, had publicly admitted that “it is extremely difficult for Pakistan to take this case to the ICJ.”

While Khan’s endeavour to make the world a better place is worthy of appreciation, but, wouldn’t it be much better if he accorded greater priority to the wellbeing of his own impoverished countrymen? Khan has himself admitted that burgeoning inflation is giving him sleepless nights, and if this is the condition of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, then what its people must be going through needs no elaboration. Furthermore, before making unproven accusations on abuses, Khan needs to set his own in order by asking Pakistan army to stop institutionalised brutalisation of Balochis and Pashtuns as well as end to ‘enforced disappearances.”

After all, haven’t the wise said, ‘charity begins at home’?

Tailpiece: In her March 18, 2021 tweet, Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari wrote: “PM [Imran Khan] also reiterated that our bill to criminalise Enforced Disappearances would be fast tracked along with whatever other laws needed to be amended.” Needless to say, nothing has been heard on this issue since then.

Does a person who hasn’t been able to criminalise enforced disappearances in his own country and one who accepts his Ministry of Religious Affairs bizarre reasoning that the anti-forced conversion bill cannot be passed as the domestic “environment is unfavourable,” have the right to pontificate the world on human rights? Lastly, if Khan is not taken seriously by the international community, then isn’t he himself to blame?

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a ‘Kashmir-Watcher,’ and now after retirement is pursuing his favorite hobby of writing for newspapers, journals and think tanks.

One thought on “On Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Subjective Human Rights Concerns – OpEd

  • February 3, 2022 at 4:19 pm
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    Subjective Human Rights Concerns is so true for Pakistan : PM Imran Khan supports the Chinese government regarding its policies in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.Where as Rights groups accuse China of systematic and widespread  “ crimes against humanity.” But Khan, who has regularly called for international action against Islamophobia, is satisfied with the Chinese he further praises the CPC has done is that without electoral democracy it has actually achieved that much better!”The proverb “Money (China) makes the Mare(Pakistan) go” explains the power of money(China). It says, if you pay enough, people will work for you.

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