COLOMBO: In an effort to avoid confrontation with India, Sri Lanka has cancelled a scheduled speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament.
According to a report titled 'Sri Lanka avoids clash with India by cancelling Khan's Parliament speech' by Dar Javed published in Colombo Gazette, the Colombo government cannot risk its relations with India when it is getting stuck in the Chinese debt-trap and India being the saviour for the world for distributing Covid-19 vaccines.
India has recently gifted 5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka.
In past recent months, there have been anti-Muslim sentiments in Sri Lanka as Buddhist people have been protesting on issues such as animal sacrifices in mosques.
It is expected that Imran Khan would have used the Muslim card during his visit to Sri Lanka. He had played the same card during his visit to Afghanistan last year.
Javed said that the Pakistan Prime Minister in 2012 had supported the Taliban saying the terror activities were "holy war" that is justified by Islamic law. "He has used the United Nations General Assembly to rake up Muslim cause, which has often been perceived as interference in the internal matters of the other countries. In October 2020, he urged the Muslim-majority countries to protest after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concerns over the murder of a teacher by an Islamist radical. He wrote to the leaders of Muslim-majority countries 'to counter the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states'," the author stated.
Looking at the past incidents, it is evident that "giving him (Imran Khan) a platform like Parliament to speak would be like to dice with death".
He would use the platform to make statements that will have "serious ramifications" for both the Buddhist people of Sri Lanka and the Rajapaksa government at the international level.
"The way Imran Khan responded to the requests of Sri Lankan Muslim leader's requests; it had become clear that he would rake up minority abuse issue during Parliament speech," Javed pointed.
Earlier, Rishad Bathiudeen, leader of the All-Ceylon Makkal Congress, had urged the Pakistan government to intervene in the matter of forced cremation policy of the Sri Lankan government for people who died due to COVID-19. The Prime Minister publicly remarked on the issue of the burial of dead bodies in Sri Lanka.
While Imran Khan seems eager to raise the issue of the treatment of Muslims in other countries, the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women report had stated that the religious freedom in the country has continued to deteriorate.
The commission further noted that the minorities in Pakistan are treated as second-class citizens. Besides, several Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan were recently demolished.
After Organisation of Islamic Cooperation refused to take up Pakistan's proposal to entertain the Kashmir issue, Imran Khan has become desperate to get support from the Muslim countries and portray himself as the champion of the Muslim world.
Amid this, the refusal of the Buddhist populated country to give a platform to Imran Khan in the Parliament has left the Prime Minister red-faced and frustrated.