India has denounced Pakistan as a patron of terrorism and a suppressor of minorities in reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tirade against the country.
“This is the country which is an arsonist disguising itself as a firefighter,” Sneha Dubey, a First Secretary in India’s UN Mission, said on Friday.
“Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbours. Our region, in fact, the entire world has suffered because of their policies.
“Today, the minorities in Pakistan, the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, live in constant fear and state-sponsored suppression of their rights. This is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalised by its leadership and even justified,” she said.
Responding to Khan’s claims about treatment of minorities in India, Dubey said: “Pluralism is a concept which is very difficult to understand for Pakistan which constitutionally prohibits its minorities from aspiring for high offices of the State. The least they could do is introspect before exposing themselves to ridicule on the world stage.
“Unlike Pakistan, India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold highest offices in the country including as President, Prime Minister, Chief Justices and Chiefs of Army staff. India is also a country with a free media and an independent judiciary that keeps a watch and protects our Constitution.”
As for Khan’s allegations of “war crimes” by India, Dubey recalled the genocide perpetrated in Bangladesh in 1971 during and before the War of Independence in which more than 300,000 people were killed by Pakistan and hundreds of thousand women raped.
Pakistan “still holds the despicable record in our region of having executed a religious and cultural genocide against the people of what is now Bangladesh. As we mark the 50th anniversary this year of that horrid event in history, there is not even an acknowledgement, much less accountability”, she said.
Khan in his speech said that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “terrorism has been associated with Islam by some quarters” and “increased the tendency of right-wing, xenophobic and violent nationalists, extremists and terrorist groups to target Muslims”.
He then went on to link this to the BJP and the RSS.
Dubey said: “We marked the solemn occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks a few days back. The world has not forgotten that the mastermind behind that dastardly event, Osama Bin Laden, got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorify him as a ‘martyr’.
“Regrettably, even today we heard the leader of Pakistan trying to justify acts of terror. Such defence of terrorism is unacceptable in the modern world.”
Pakistan has made an annual ritual of using up most it time at the high-level General Assembly session to attack India, which it also does at all meetings, regardless of the topic.
Dubey said: “This is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has misused platforms provided by the UN to propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world’s attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down.
“This is a country which has been globally recognized as one openly supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists as a matter of State policy. It holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN Security Council.”
Khan said that Pakistan “desires peace with India” but it is “contingent upon resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and the wishes of the Kashmiri people”.
Pakistan, however, is in violation of Security Council Resolution 47 adopted in 1948 that requires it to withdraw all its personnel from Kashmir.
Dubey declared: “Let me reiterate here that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India. This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.”
On the conditions for peace, she said: “We desire normal relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. However, it is for Pakistan to work sincerely towards creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross border terrorism against India in any manner.”
Khan blamed the US for the developments in Afghanistan, recalling the support Washington under President Ronald Reagan gave mujahidin fighting the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
“We were left with sectarian militant groups which were never existed before,” he said.
After 9/11, the US needed Pakistan’s help to invade Afghanistan, he said.
As a result, the same Mujahidin also turned against Pakistan and the Taliban attacked his country, he claimed.
After Dubey gave the right of reply speech, a Counsellor in Pakistan’s UN Mission, Saima Saleem, replied to the right of reply.
Saleem repeated many elements of Khan’s speech, in addition to quoting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN human rights bodies, ignoring their scorching criticism of her country.