Pakistan faces humiliation at Sri Lanka govt hand, cancels Imran Khan’s speech
Khan’s government which pretends to fight for muslim’s rights across the globe is silent on this aggressive move by the Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s planned address to the Sri Lankan parliament, during his upcoming visit to the island country, has been cancelled. Khan is scheduled to travel to Colombo on a two-day trip from Feb 22.
Besides his meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and attending an investors’ conference, he was to address the Sri Lankan parliament on Feb 24. Pakistan government had requested Sri Lanka to include his speech to Lankan parliament.
A daily newspaper from Sri Lanka reported that there were elements within the Sri Lankan government, who did not want the speech to take place as they feared that doing so could further harm ties with India, which have already been strained after the cancellation of a deal over the East Container Terminal in Colombo port. It was expected that Mr Khan would raise the Kashmir issue during his speech, which could have upset Delhi. Similarly, giving opportunity to the Pakistani prime minister, Express newspaper said, could have been implied as giving Mr Khan parity to Mr Modi.
Mr Khan should raise the issues of rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka, who have faced abuses at the hands of Buddhist majority, rising anti-Muslim sentiments, and biased government actions. But so far, he has not raised this issue. At the beginning of this New Year, in January 2021, a team of UN Human Rights activists fervently appealed to the Sri Lankan government to scrap its policy of forced cremation of bodies of coronavirus victims belonging to Muslim/ other minorities.
The Sri Lankan Government was requested to abstain from actions that were seemingly in contravention to the established practices of different religious groups. The decision of the authorities was seen as a catalyst capable of fomenting prejudice, intolerance and violence in an already divided society that is yet to put its pieces together post the LTTE conflict. In Geneva, Special Rapporteurs Ahmed Shaheed, Fernand de Varennes, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule and Tlaleng Mofokeng claimed that there was no medical or scientific evidence proving that burying the bodies of coronavirus victims in any way increased the risk of spreading this highly contagious disease.
Nevertheless, sometime in March 2020, Sri Lanka amended the country’s health guidelines for Covid-19 making it mandatory to cremate all deceased Covid 19 patients. Following this, many countries condemned the decision on the grounds of being discriminatory, propagating religious intolerance & sowing fear and distrust between religious communities. Interestingly however, Pakistan, a Muslim majority South Asian country which otherwise takes pride in speaking up for the community at every international forum maintained complete silence over the issue.