PM Imran to raise Kashmir issue in UNGA address today


Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today (Friday) via a video link.

The general debate of the 193-member assembly, which is traditionally a high-profile annual UN event, opened on September 22. However, this year it has been trimmed-down, with world leaders staying away from New York because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They will be contributing set-piece speeches via video link.

According to the list, PM Imran, who last year made his debut at the UN as head of state, is the sixth speaker in the afternoon session.

Sources said that the PM’s speech will be aired at 9:45pm.

In his weekly briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the prime minister, in his address, will share Pakistan’s perspective on various regional and international issues.

He said the prime minister will once again raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir dispute at the global forum.

In his wide-ranging address, the prime minister will also share Pakistan’s successful handling of COVID-19, his debt relief initiative for developing countries and Islamophobia.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak on September 26, a day after the Pakistani leader’s address.

US President Donald Trump has already addressed the UNGA on the morning of September 22, the opening day of the general debate, which will run through September 29.

The US is traditionally the second speaker in the high-level debate after Brazil.

New arrangements

Former UNGA president Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, last month had said each Member State, Observer State and the European Union were invited to submit a pre-recorded video, delivered by its designated high-level official, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall.

Speeches will be limited to 15 minutes.

The iconic General Assembly Hall will not be empty as videos will be introduced by a representative of each state, who will be physically present.

The same procedure will apply for a series of special high-level sessions scheduled to take place, including a commemoration of the landmark 75th anniversary of the United Nations; a summit on biodiversity; and a meeting to commemorate and promote, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Side-events, such as New York Climate Week, are unlikely to welcome attendees to New York venues this year, following Muhammad-Bande’s suggestion that they should be moved online.

The decision to introduce pre-recorded videos to the High-Level General Debate, which takes place at the beginning of the 75th session of the General Assembly, was made by the UN body last month, using the novel ‘silence procedure’ method.

Under this method, draft resolutions are circulated by the UNGA president which gives member states a deadline of at least 72 hours to raise objections.

If there are no objections, the president circulates a letter, confirming that the resolution has been adopted.

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