Imran Khan accuses India of ‘sponsoring Islamophobia’

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasized the need for durable peace in the South Asian region but hit out at India and said India is driving Islamaphobia.

In a pre-recorded address Friday to the UN General Assembly Khan also said the return of Afghan refugees sheltering in Pakistan needs to be part of the political solution.

Khan said Islamophobia prevails in India and threatens the nearly 200 million Muslims who live there.

He stressed that “wilful provocations” and “incitements to hate” must be universally outlawed, and appealed to the UN to declare an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia.”

Khan accused India of State-sponsored Islamophobia, alleging that mosques have been destroyed and that Muslims have been killed and are at risk of losing their nationality due to discriminatory laws.

“Muslims were falsely blamed, vilified and victimized for spreading the coronavirus. They were denied medical attention and on many occasions, their businesses boycotted,” he said, noting that other religions are also at risk of being marginalized in India.

“The one country in the world today where, I am sad to say, the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India,” he said.

Khan also raised the issue of COVID-19 in his country and said “smart lockdowns” had helped his country fight the pandemic.

“We have not only managed to control the virus, stabilize our economy but most importantly, we have been able to protect the poorest segment of our society from the worst fallouts of the lockdown.