GENEVA (Switzerland), Dec 17 (APP):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 the state of 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 millions of Afghan refugees in the last forty years 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 rich 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. “I see problems of European countries with refugees and right wing politics and they cash in on the refugee issues,” he added.
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 in India.
“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 8 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.
“On August 5, India laid siege of the people of Kashmir. 8 million people are literally shut inside – their rights have been taken – people imprisoned communication cut off. The important thing is that it is meant to change to demography of Kashmir from Muslim majority to minority – we are likely to have another refugee crisis – a crisis that would draw other crises,” he added.
“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.
“Whenever curfew is lifted, there are 900,000 Indian troops. They will try to change the demography by settling in Hindu population in Kashmir.
We know from our past experience that prevention is better than cure. If the world puts pressure on India, we can prevent it, but once the crisis starts, we all know, it is complicated and difficult,” he added.
The world must take notice of what was happening there, he said, alluding to dangers of one of the biggest impending refugee crisis about to take place in India. “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 the state of 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 secretary general, 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,” he questioned.
The prime minister said once the crisis happened, it would be more difficult to control and Pakistan would have to suffer which had already been hosting about three million refugees.
“While all other religions can seek citizenship on basis of persecution – if 2-3 % of Muslims cannot prove their citizenship, if will be a challenge – riots have already started in India – I ask the international community to look into it. If a crisis breaks, it is much more difficult to resolve it. As a country hosting 3 million refugees, a country struggling for provision of services to its citizens, we know the consequences. It is time for the world to take notice – What is happening next door can have an impact on the world community, it is unprecedented,” he stressed.
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 “We are supporting peace process in Afghanistan and are praying for peace and political settlement in Afghanistan so that people suffering for 40 years in conflict can enjoy dividends of peace.”
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.