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The Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue fell flat at the 74th UN General assembly. He raved and ranted about the so-called “plight” of the people of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Assembly did not pay heed to the Pakistani Prime Minister’s speech. Imran Khan then raised the issue of war and even the ‘nuclear’ word was used by him. This has become part of the narrative of Pakistani leaders to attract attention.
The Pakistani leader found no support from the US administration too. The US State Department in fact criticised the Pakistan Prime Minister for not highlighting the plight of the Uyghurs the same way he spoke about the Kashmiris. Alice Wells, US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, termed Mr. Khan’s comments on Kashmir as “unhelpful”.
She said, “A lowering of rhetoric would be welcome, especially between the two nuclear powers.” Ms. Wells also questioned why the Pakistan Prime Minister did not speak against China, which has detained an estimated one million Uyghur Muslims for “integrating them into Han Chinese traditions”. The Pakistan Prime Minister, had, in fact refused to comment on the plight of the Uyghurs as Pakistan “shares a special relationship” with China, Mr. Khan had said.
The Indian reply to the Pakistani leader’s speech at the 74th UNGA was factual and mature. India termed the Pakistani leader’s threat of unleashing nuclear devastation as brinksmanship and not statesmanship
India said that Mr. Khan’s speech fosters divisiveness at the United Nations and attempted to sharpen differences and stir up hatred. The Indian First Secretary to UN, Ms. Vidisha Maitra said, “Coming from the leader of a country that has monopolized the entire value chain of the industry of terrorism, Prime Minister Khan’s justification of terrorism was brazen and incendiary”.
She reminded Mr. Khan, who invited UN Observers to Pakistan to verify that there are no militant organisations in Pakistan, that the world will hold him to that promise. The Indian Representative further asked, can Pakistan confirm the fact that it is home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN? Will Pakistan deny that the Financial Action Task Force has put the country on notice for its violations of more than 20 of the 27 key parameters?
Having mainstreamed terrorism and hate speech, Pakistan is trying to play its wild card as the newfound champion of human rights. India also reminded the 193 members of the UN that the population of minorities in Pakistan has shrunk from 23% in 1947 to 3% today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions.
India said, Pakistan’s newfound fascination for preaching human rights is akin to trophy hunting. The Indian Representative also observed that “Pogroms are not a phenomenon of today’s vibrant democracies”. India called upon the world not to forget the gruesome genocide perpetrated by Pakistan against its own people in 1971.
Pakistan’s virulent reaction to the removal of an outdated and temporary provision (Article 370) that was hindering development and integration of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir stems from the fact that those who thrive on conflict never welcome the ray of peace. While Pakistan has ventured to upstream terrorism and downstream hate speech there, India is going ahead with mainstreaming development in Jammu and Kashmir.
The mainstreaming of Jammu & Kashmir, as well as Ladakh, in India’s thriving and vibrant democracy with a millennia-old heritage of diversity, pluralism and tolerance is truly and irreversibly underway. Citizens of India do not need anyone else to speak on their behalf, least of all those who have built an industry of terrorism from the ideology of hate.
Pakistani opposition parties too have criticised Mr. Khan’s speech at the UN and said that he returned empty handed without any support on Kashmir.
Script: Kaushik Roy, Air: News Analyst