Updated: September 29, 2019 10:35:00 am
Hours after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan repeated his nuclear threat against India and warned of a “bloodbath” in Jammu & Kashmir, New Delhi, in a sharp response, said Indian citizens did not need others to speak for them — and definitely not those who had “built an industry of terrorism from the ideology of hate”.
“Pakistan’s virulent reaction to the removal of an outdated and temporary provision that was hindering development and integration of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir stems from the fact that those who thrive on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,” India said.
“The mainstreaming of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Ladakh, in India’s thriving and vibrant democracy with a millennia-old heritage of diversity, pluralism and tolerance, is well and truly underway. Irreversibly so. 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.”
India’s reply, given by Vidisha Maitra, a junior diplomat posted as First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations, was laced with reference to Imran Khan’s surname — Niazi — which he is reluctant to use, because it carries connotations of being a traitor in Pakistan.
Lt Gen A A K Niazi was the Pakistani general who had surrendered to the Indian Army in Dhaka after the 1971 Bangladesh war. Shortly after Imran took over last year, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office had issued a circular saying that his name, Niazi, should not be used in official communication.
“Pogroms, Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, are not a phenomenon of today’s vibrant democracies. We would request you to refresh your rather sketchy understanding of history. Do not forget the gruesome genocide perpetrated by Pakistan against its own people in 1971 and the role played by Lt Gen A A K Niazi. A sordid fact that the Prime Minister of Bangladesh reminded this Assembly about earlier this afternoon,” Maitra said, exercising India’s right to reply.
On Imran’s nuclear threat, India said: “Prime Minister Khan’s threat of unleashing nuclear devastation qualifies as brinkmanship, not statesmanship. Even 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. For someone who was once a cricketer and believed in the gentleman’s game, today’s speech bordered on crudeness of the variety that is reminiscent of the guns of Darra Adam Khel.”
Darra Adam Khel, a town in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is infamous for its illegal guns bazaar.
Addressing the UNGA on Friday, Imran had said: “What will we do? I ask myself these questions. We will fight. and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders.”
Taking up on Khan’s statement that his government has dismantled the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan, which could be verified by UN observers, India said: “Now that Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited UN observers to Pakistan to verify that there are no militant organisations in Pakistan, the world will hold him to that promise.”
India then went on to pose some questions to Pakistan ahead of the proposed verification, including one on the recent approval for the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed, to get “basic expenses” from the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1267 sanctions committee.
“Can Pakistan confirm the fact that it is home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN, as of today?” it asked.
“Will Pakistan acknowledge that it is the only government in the world that provides pension to an individual listed by the UN in the Al-Qaeda and Da’esh Sanctions list!
“Can Pakistan explain why here in New York, its premier bank, the Habib Bank, had to shut shop after it was fined millions of dollars over terror financing?
“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?
“And would Prime Minister Khan deny to the city of New York that he was an open defender of Osama bin Laden?”
India also took on Imran on Pakistan’s record on human rights.
“Having mainstreamed terrorism and hate speech, Pakistan is trying to play its wild card as the newfound champion of human rights. This a country that has shrunk the size of its minority community 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. Their newfound fascination for preaching human rights is akin to trophy hunting of the endangered mountain goat — markhor,” India said.
Every word spoken from the UNGA podium carries the weight of history, India said. “Unfortunately, what we heard today from Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan was a callous portrayal of the world in binary terms. Us vs Them; Rich vs Poor; North vs South; Developed Vs Developing; Muslims vs Others. A script that fosters divisiveness at the United Nations. Attempts to sharpen differences and stir up hatred are, simply put, ‘hate speech’.”
Rarely has the General Assembly witnessed such misuse, rather abuse, of an opportunity to reflect, India said. “Words matter in diplomacy”, India said, and “invocation of phrases such as “pogrom”, “bloodbath”, “racial superiority”, “pick up the gun” and “fight to the end” reflect a medieval mindset and not a 21st century vision.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.