Did Prime Minister Imran Khan make a mistake in referring to the speech of former US President Ronald Reagan?
Prime Minister Imran Khan is again under fire from criticism. And this time it is his address to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly – a forum that puts one in the spotlight around the world.
In his address, delivered on Saturday morning via a prerecorded statement, he explained how Pakistan, a frontline state fighting the occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, along with the United States, formed Mujahedin groups.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said these fighters were considered heroes and went on to say that US President Ronald Reagan invited them to the White House in 1983. The prime minister, citing news reports, said Reagan had compared them to the founding fathers of the United States. States.
Twitter users jumped at the opportunity to point out that the statement was allegedly made in error.
Journalist Gharida Farooqui wrote: “What an international embarrassment this too at the UNGA forum this time. US President Ronald Reagan has NEVER compared the “Mujahedin” to the founding fathers. It’s a FAKE NEWS. Prime Minister Khan refers to a false “news item” to launch the Pakistan dossier at such a prestigious forum! Who wrote Prime Minister Khan’s speech? Send it back. “
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz intervened to say that it is Prime Minister Imran Khan who should be “fired” and not the speechwriter.
“Bad SELECTION,” she added, in an often-cited reference to the prime minister used by the opposition.
Geo.tv did a little digging to determine what Regan actually said in his speech, delivered at an annual Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, and whether he really spoke about the mujahedin in these terms.
It should be mentioned here that a commander of the Afghan army mujahedin was in fact present at the rally, and the US president praised him highly, going so far as to describe the mujahedin as “brothers”.
The relevant excerpt from his speech is given below:
“There is a lot more to do. All over the world, the Soviet Union and its agents, client states and satellites are on the defensive – on the moral defensive, the intellectual defensive, and the political and economic defensive. Movements of freedom are born and assert themselves. They do it on almost every continent populated by men – in the hills of Afghanistan, in Angola, in Kampuchea, in Central America. In mentioning the freedom fighters, we are all privileged to have with us this evening one of the brave commanders leading the Afghan freedom fighters – Abdul Haq. Abdul Haq, we are with you.
“They are our brothers, these freedom fighters, and we owe them our help. I recently spoke about Nicaraguan freedom fighters. You know the truth about them. You know who they are fighting against and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance. We cannot turn away from it, because the struggle here is not right against left; it is good against bad.
While it could be argued that Reagan mentioned the Nicaraguan freedom fighters just before he said “they are the moral equal of our founding fathers,” it doesn’t really take a leap of the imagination to say that he was talking about freedom fighters in general when he made the comment – especially when, moments before, he had called Afghan freedom fighters “our brothers” and said we “owe our help”.
But while Reagan did or did not refer to freedom fighters everywhere when he described them as no different from the founding fathers of the United States, the comment became a partisan debate in Pakistan, where people adopted very opposing views depending on which side of the political division they stand on.