Main points of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Speech at opening session of Global Refugees Forum, Geneva

December 17, 2019

Main points of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Speech at opening session of Global Refugees Forum, Geneva


I am honoured to be with the leaders of Turkey, Ethiopia, Germany and Costa Rica to co-convene the first Global Forum on Refugees.


I wish to thank the Government of Switzerland and UNHCR for co-hosting this important event.


I commend Secretary General Guterres and High Commissioner Grandi for their strong advocacy for refugee causes worldwide.


I would like to pay special tribute to President Erdogan and the people of Turkey for hosting the largest refugee population.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen


Pakistan was born of the biggest refugee problem in the history of mankind and we were inspired by the Prophet Muhammad (PHUH) who was a refugee. 


Pakistan hosted millions of Afghans and still after forty years has 1.4 million and overall Afghans are 3 million. 


Countries that do not have resources and cannot look after their own population and are struggling to develop their human resource – a large refugee presence causes problems that cannot be understood by rich countries. 


I see problems of European countries with refugees and right wing politics and they cash on the refugee issues. 


We know what we go through, as Prime Minister, I can tell you that we face daily problems when people want jobs and refugees can become targets. 


I am proud of people of Pakistan, the way they have hosted, and the hospitality they have shown to the refugees throughout these forty years. 


Prevention is better than cure. We must prevent people from becoming refugees. 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. 


I want to speak about one of the biggest impending refugee crisis about to take place in India. 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. I asked the world to take notice of this in my address to the UNGA. 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 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. 


One, I want the world community to take notice of what will happen, we are worried this will lead to a crisis.


Secretary General, I am looking forward to invite you in Feb when we host the refugee conference there but this is the time to take notice 


In Assam citizen register– every citizen has to prove their citizenship – this is what happened in Myanmar before ethnic cleansing of Muslims, they had to prove citizenship – In India, more than 2 million people, mostly Muslims, are now required to prove that they are citizens. An Indian Minister said that by 2024 it will be all over India. 


In a recently passed law, any minority from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, that’s persecuted can find citizenship in India, except Muslims. When every citizen has to prove citizenship – please understand the implications Mr. Secretary General – 


There are more than 2 million Muslims in India, so anyone who cannot prove will be de-registered as a citizen 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 onto 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.