UNITED NATIONS – Representatives of Pakistan and India Monday engaged in a verbal duel at the United Nations after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj accused Islamabad of promoting terrorism and claiming Kashmir to be her country’s integral part that drew a stinging response from Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi.
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“It is India that has long been a sponsor and practitioner of state terrorism,” Ambassador Lodhi told the U.N. General Assembly while exercising her right of reply to the Indian chief delegate’s statement.
She also debunked Swaraj’s claim about Kashmir, saying it is an internationally recognized disputed territory. “Jammu and Kashmir never was and can never be an integral part of India,” the Pakistani envoy said in a hard-hitting statement.
Ambassador Lodhi also took exception to the raising of Balochistan issue by the Indian external affairs minister, saying it was a “blatant violation” of the principles of the UN Charter.
She described India’s call to isolate Pakistan as “delusional”, saying, “It is India itself, which because of its war crimes in Kashmir and elsewhere, and because of its warmongering, is likely to be isolated in the international community.”
“Over the course of the last half century, India has sponsored and perpetrated terrorism and aggression against all its neighbours; creating terrorist groups; destabilizing and blockading neighbors to do its strategic bidding and sponsoring subversion, sabotage and terrorism in various parts of Pakistan,” Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi added.
In fact, Ambassador Lodhi said Ms. Swaraj’s statement, which contained a series of allegations against Pakistan, was a”litany of falsehoods about Pakistan and a travesty of facts and history”.
“We reject all the baseless allegations made in that statement,” the Pakistani envoy said in a hard hitting reply.
“These allegations are designed principally to deflect global attention from the brutalities being perpetrated by India’s over half a million occupation force against innocent and unarmed Kashmiri children, women and men in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” she said
“Kashmiri people call for freedom has been met with characteristic Indian brutality,” Ambassador Lodhi said. referring to over a hundred innocent Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds blinded and thousands injured by Indian bullets and pellets, including infants, children, women and men.
“This is the worst form of state terrorism, a war crime, that India has continued to perpetrate in the situation of foreign occupation in Jammu and Kashmir for the past many decades,” she told the 193-member Assembly.
Pakistan, she said, demanded a full and impartial investigation of these Indian atrocities and massive human rights violations in Kashmir. “We ask that India accept the investigation proposed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and allow them access for the purpose.”
“The right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination has
been recognized and promised to them by the UN Security Council and by India and Pakistan,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“For 70 years, India has prevented the Kashmiris, through force and fraud, from exercising this right and holding the UN-supervised plebiscite to enable the Kashmiris to determine their political destiny.
“The struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination is a legitimate struggle. And, they have the right to receive moral and political support from the international community.”
The ambassador said, “The attack on the Indian Army base in Uri, particularly its timing, has all the hallmarks of an operation designed to divert attention from India’s atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The international community is well aware that several such incidents have been staged in the past to serve India’s tactical and propaganda objectives.
“India is utilizing the Uri incident to blame Pakistan for the current Kashmiri uprising and divert attention from its brutal occupation.
“The recently captured Indian spy, an intelligence officer, Kulbhushan Yadav, has confessed to India’s support to such terrorist and subversive activities particularly in Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Indeed, it was Kulbhushan, who was financing, arming and supporting individuals and entities listed under the UN sanctions regime,” she said.
Instead of aiming to destabilize Pakistan, she said the Indian government would do well to address India’s own vast internal problems and the dozen or so insurgencies going on in its own country.
“For the Indian External Affairs minister to claim that her country has imposed no pre-conditions for talks with Pakistan is another falsehood.
India suspended talks more than a year ago, and has refused to resume them despite repeated offers from Pakistan and advice from the international community. The latest offer was made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from the rostrum of this very Assembly,” she said.
“But let us be clear, talks are no favour to Pakistan. They are in the interest of both India and Pakistan and the people of our two countries.
“Let me reiterate that Pakistan is ready and willing for serious and result oriented talks with India, especially to resolve the longstanding core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, which is imperative for durable peace, stability and development in the region. ”
Meanwhile, elsewhere at the UN, Asim Iftikhar, a Pakistani diplomat, while addressing a meeting reiterated Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s statement about Pakistan’s readiness to enter in a serious and sustained dialogue with India for the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir.
Exercising her right of reply to the Pakistani ambassador, India’s delegate Eenam Gambhir repeated her country’s allegations against Pakistan, saying how that country could allow terrorist havens to continue flourishing, and whether its representative could confirm that her country did not use terrorist proxies as a matter of state policy.
Ms. Gambhir said It appeared that Pakistan’s representative had not heard the Indian minister earlier, when she had said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and always would be.
Reacting to Ms. Gambhir’s statement, Pakistani delegate Tipu Usman rejected all claims and fabrications in India’s remarks.Regardless of how many times a lie was repeated, it could not become truth, he emphasized.
Kashmir remained a disputed territory and any claims against it were contrary to the principles of international law, Usman said. India’s attempts to decimate Kashmir’s population and its sabotage activities were well-documented facts.
The Indian representative said her country would remain silent, claiming that the Pakistan’s “deception, deceit and denial” were only to be expected.