UNITED NATIONS – Pakistan has voiced its strong disapproval in the UN General Assembly of double standards in implementing the international obligations to protect civilians and prevent crimes against humanity in the backdrop of Kashmir killings.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that ‘selectivity’ has meant that egregious crimes, including killings and mass blinding claim innocent victims in Indian occupied Kashmir in full view of the international community.
Speaking in the 193-member Assembly debate on Responsibility to Protect and prevent crimes against humanity, the envoy expressed that the tragic victims in occupied Jammu and Kashmir suffer the further indignity of living under an illegal occupation.
Lodhi also highlighted the grave situation in Palestine where the failure of the international community to uphold these norms, has been what she called most manifest and telling.
As the killing fields of Gaza were drenched in the blood of over 130 innocent Palestinians, including countless women and children, Ambassador Lodhi said, the Security Council stood as a silent bystander to the plight of the long-suffering Palestinian people.
While stressing that the notion of the Responsibility to Protect stands on more tenuous ground today than ever before, she said that decisions taken by the international community, have in this regard, often failed the test of the highest standards of objectivity and impartiality.
She called on the world body for the implementation of consistent and uniform standards and emphasized collective responsibility to prevent these grave crimes.
“The ‘will’ of the international community, in particular, the permanent members of the Security Council, is crucial,” she said, adding that this was particularly important to address the issues of the permissibility of actions and to ensure their consistency.
The Pakistani envoy said if we are selective in our approach -expressing indignation at some transgressions while choosing to willfully ignore others, any norm will be quickly turned into mere pretense.
“Against this backdrop, calls for accountability would invariably smack of double standards and selectivity, especially when egregious crimes including killings and mass-blinding are being committed in full view of the international community,” she asserted.
Emphasizing the sanctity of the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality for any action by the Security Council, Ambassador Lodhi criticized instances wherein the face of divisions within the Council, unilateral actions have led to situations characterized as illegal but legitimate.
“We should neither attempt nor accept any artificial duality between the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality,” she stressed.
Pakistan’s top diplomat also called for renewed commitment in helping states build their capacity including through governance and judicial reforms arguing that in a world beset by growing socio-economic inequalities, situations leading to responsibility to protect, are more often than not the result of under-development and poverty.
“Long-term commitment by the international community including mobilization of adequate resources for sustainable development and poverty eradication as also reflected in the 2030 development agenda is the best investment in prevention,” she added.
The ambassador concluded by remarking that what was needed is a surge in diplomacy, not war, to achieve the goal of preventing grave crimes against humanity.
Exercising his right of reply, Sandeep Kumar Bayyapu, an Indian diplomat, accused Pakistan of misusing the UN platform to make “an unwarranted reference” to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He claimed that the state constituted an integral part of India and “no amount of empty rhetoric from Pakistan would change that reality.”