Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised the issue of Kashmir and praised Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, India on Thursday hit back and called Pakistan a “terrorist state” which hosts the “Ivy League of terrorism” and carries out “war crimes” against Indians through its “long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism”.
Later in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup used a Hindi proverb to drive home the point that the Pakistani establishment was colluding with terrorists. Responding to a query on the absence of Pakistan’s intelligence chief at a SAARC meeting of intelligence chiefs in New Delhi, Swarup said “chor ki daadhi mein tinka” (having done something wrong and trying to hide it).
Exercising India’s right to reply after Sharif’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, said, “The land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism. It attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.”
“The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe,” she said, adding it was ironical that a country which had established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism was preaching human rights and talking about ostensible support for self-determination. Gambhir said shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” at the world body, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned over the most recent of the terror attacks, the one at 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.
“When practised as an instrument of state policy, it is a war crime. 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,” she 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.
In a clear reference to Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Gambhir said terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with state support.
“With the approval of the authorities, many terrorist organisations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” 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.
Criticising Sharif for glorifying Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, she said, “Even today, we have heard support from the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organisation.” She said Pakistan was a democracy-deficit country and practised terrorism on its own people.
“It extends support to extremist groups, suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights, including through draconian laws,” she said. She 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.
Later in the day, Swarup also hinted at the Indus Waters Treaty — as there is a growing demand for it to be reviewed and used as a lever against Pakistan — “for any such treaty to work, you need mutual trust and goodwill. I will leave it at that.” He said that over the past two days, about 50 countries have spoken at the UNGA, but nobody had raised the issue of Kashmir — 80 per cent of Sharif’s speech was on that issue. He also praised UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon’s “wise” words that India and Pakistan should resolve the dispute “bilaterally”.
Asked about diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan, he said demarches — like the one made on Wednesday to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit — can be made only if there are diplomatic relations. He was responding to a question on demands from certain quarters for snapping diplomatic ties.
Swarup said India does not need to prepare any dossier since the world knows about the deeds of Pakistan on terrorism. He said Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had shown Basit photographs of grenades with Pakistan markings and GPS devices, which he called “irrefutable evidence”. He reiterated India’s request for checking the fingerprints and DNA samples of terrorists in Uri attack with their own national database to establish their identity. “We await a response from Pakistan,” he said. He declined to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Islamabad for the SAARC summit in November. “Every question cannot be answered in yes or no,” he said.