India called Pakistan a “terrorist state” and accused it of carrying out “war crimes” against Indians through its “long-standing policy” of sponsoring terrorism. The statements came hours after Islamabad raked up Kashmir issue at the 71st UN General Assembly session.
In a strong rebuttal to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, India said on Thursday that UN-designated terrorists continued to roam Pakistan’s streets freely and operate with State support.
Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir said “the worst violation of human rights is terrorism”.
“When practised as an instrument of state policy, it is a war crime,” she said. “What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region.”
Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” that channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours.
India’s minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar, too, joined the anti-Pakistan tirade, branding Sharif’s UNGA address as “immature” and “full of threats”. He scoffed at Islamabad for wanting dialogue while holding a gun, adding India will “never succumb to such tactics and blackmail”.
Addressing a press conference here moments after Sharif’s address, Akbar stated that Pakistan at the moment seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government. “Pakistan wants dialogue while holding a gun a terrorist gun in its hand. Talks and guns don’t go together,” he said. “Our position on a dialogue has been consistent. We have always been ready for a dialogue, but we will not succumb to the blackmail and tactics of a government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorist and terrorism as policy.”
Reacting to the Pakistan PM’s glorification of slain Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in his address, the Union Minister asserted it was shocking that the leader of a nation can glorify a self declared, self- identified terrorist at such a forum.
“We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Wani was a self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. This organisation is widely acknowledged as a terrorist group internationally. This is self incrimination” by the Pakistan PM, Akbar said.
Coming down heavily on Sharif’s address in which he attacked India over Jammu and Kashmir, he further said that the speech was simply full of threats and missing facts.
“The only occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a part of India, is the occupation of a part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan’s occupation Army. The world also knows that Pakistan has indulged in ethnic cleansing of its own people,” he said.
Akbar emphasised that Islamabad’s consistent use of war and terrorism has been at the cost of development of the people of Pakistan, adding that the people there are paying the price of a malevolent policy.
Diplomaty Gambhir, in a reference to JeM chief Masood Azhar and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, said terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with the State’s support. “With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organisations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” she said.
She said while Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record is marked by “deception and deceit”, it talks about restraint, renunciation and peace. “Similar false promises it has made to us — the international community — on terrorism. Perhaps renunciation of lies and self-restraint on threats could be a good place for Pakistan to start,” Gambhir said.
India also strongly slammed Sharif for glorifying Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani who was killed on July 8 by the Indian forces. “Even today we heard support by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organisation,” she said.
Gambhir said Pakistan was a democracy-deficit country that practised terrorism on its own people. “It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws,” she added.
Gambhir voiced India’s firm resolve to protect all its citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. “We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail,” she said.
The diplomat reminded the UN that the trail of the most “horrifying” and “dastardly terror attack” of 9/11 led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been hiding “for years” and was killed by US forces.
She also noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world. “The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe,” she said, adding that it is ironic that a country, which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism, is preaching human rights and talks about ostensible support for self-determination.
She also told the UN General Assembly that shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” in the world body, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in Uri that claimed 18 Indian lives. “That terrorist attack is part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country,” she said.
On Wednesdday, Sharif raised the Kashmir issue with almost every world leader, including those from the US, the UK, Japan and Turkey. He sought their intervention to resolve the matter.
Mos Akbar defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy with Pakistan from charges of being unsure and always see-sawing, and stated the PM had been consistent “since day one” on his policy with the hostile neighbour.
“In the very first invitation that was extended to the SAARC leaders, it was made clear that India was always ready for a dialogue with anyone, but not if there was any use of terrorism. You will recall even in the first weeks that the dialogue process was disrupted because India’s stand has been unfavouring and unchanging,” he said.
Extending his full support to the protests being carried out by Baloch activists across the globe, Akbar said that the people of Pakistan’s southwestern provice have “every reason” for protest against a policy of “serious hostility” against them. It has a “very long history” of violence that has included the use of Air Force and massive Armed Forces against them.
Earlier, the Pakistan PM told the United Nations that his country wants peace with India, but asserted there can be no peace and normalization of relations between the two Asian neighbours until the Kashmir issue is fully resolved.
“Peace and normalization between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position,” said Sharif while addressing the 71st session of the UNGA.
Talks were necessary for solving all pending disputes including Kashmir with India, he said, adding that Islamabad would accept any pre-conditions.
“Talks are no favor to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and to avert the danger of any escalation. But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue,” he said.
Sharif further extended his support to Kashmiris and went on to glorify slain Hijbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani as a young leader, who has become the “face” of the Kashmiri movement. “Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement, led by Kashmiris,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Islamabad fully supported the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination as promised to them by several Security Council resolutions, and urged the United Nations to intervene and assist in solving the Kashmir dispute.
“The Security Council has called for the exercise of the right to self- determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite held under the UN auspices. The Security Council must honour its commitments by implementing its own decisions,” he said.
He further demanded an independent inquiry and a UN fact-finding mission to investigate the situation in Kashmir.
The dialogue between both sides was suspended after an attack on an Indian air base at Pathankot earlier in January which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.