World, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan warns of possible refugee influx from India

Premier Imran Khan urges UN to intervene against Indian laws that may allegedly leave Muslims, other minorities stateless

Islamuddin Sajid   | 17.02.2020
Pakistan warns of possible refugee influx from India

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan's prime minister on Monday warned that his country could face another influx of refugees from India if the international community did not act to stop New Delhi from potentially revoking the citizenship of over 200 million Muslims. 

Addressing an international conference on refugees in the capital Islamabad, Khan said the Indian government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was targeting Muslims and other minorities through citizenship registration acts that could make them stateless.

"This will have future problems for our country because it could [lead to] a huge level refugee problem. We are watching the BJP leaders on TV when they are telling the protesters who are protesting against this unfair legislation, telling them to go to Pakistan," Khan said.

The two-day conference was also attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, U.S. top peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, Afghan Vice President Muhammad Sarwar Danish, Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and other senior officials from roughly 20 countries.

Urging the UN to intervene before the situation spiraled out of control, Khan warned that it could otherwise "become one of the flashpoints in the world.

Afghan peace process

Referring to ongoing peace talks between the U.S. and the Afghan Taliban, Khan said Islamabad has wholeheartedly played its part to end the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

"I pray from my heart that these peace talks succeed in Afghanistan. Since my government has come into power, we have tried our best, whatever support we can give to these peace talks," Khan explained.

He added that he met multiple times throughout the talks with U.S. peace envoy Khalilzad, who he said was also aware of Pakistan's role.

Muslims refugees and Islamophobia

Khan also cautioned against growing Islamophobia in the West and said some politicians used refugees to gain votes and power.

"Unfortunately, when we look at much richer countries, the political leaders use the refugee problem for dividing humanity to get votes, and they are transferring hatred towards refugees who already are suffering," Khan said.

He said Pakistan was hosting 2.7 million refugees, but that anti-refugee sentiments had never been spread against them.

Khan urged the world to learn about the problems that have led refugees to leave their homes.

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