In his United Nations General Assembly speech on Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged “serious and sustained” dialogue with India and at the same time, brought up the Kashmir issue, glorifying the slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.
Sharif devoted much of his 20-minute speech at the UN General Assembly session to Kashmir and the current situation in the Valley and said Pakistan “fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination”.
He also stated that Pakistan itself had been a victim of externally sponsored terrorism and that he will not allow it to destabilise the nation. “My country has been the principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad,” he said. He also elaborated on the ways through which Pakistan is combating terrorism.
While the Indian leaders reacted to his speech at home, the Indian envoy to the UN Eenam Gambhir raised a storm by giving a short and crisp reply to the Pakistani prime minister’s speech.
Gambhir decried Pakistan’s claim on terrorism by stating that India and others have been privy to the consequences of Pakistan’s policy of sponsoring terrorism. “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.
She substantiated this by citing 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in New York, the worst terrorist attack in the history of the US, which was avenged by the US forces by killing Osama Bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“The world has not yet forgotten that the trail of that dastardly attack led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan,” she stated.
Calling the contents of Sharif’s speech “hypocritical sermons”, Gambhir raised the recent Uri attack, which left 17 soldiers dead and which was also pointedly not mentioned in Nawaz Sharif’s speech.
Eenam, sharpening her attack, said, “Shortly before Pakistan gave its hypocritical sermons in this august house today, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in 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 then reiterated how Pakistan used funds, including those received form international aid, to train and support terrorists. Addressing the reference to Burhan Wani as a ‘young leader’ by Sharif, the UN envoy said this reference further substantiates Pakistan’s support for terrorist organisations in the country.
With a slanting reference to Sharif’s tirade against Kashmir and the ongoing unrest, Gambhir delineated how “Pakistan is a country with a democracy deficit” and how they practiced terrorism on their own citizens.
“..it practices terrorism on its own people. It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws. As a democracy India is firmly resolved to protect all our citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail,” she said.
She ended her speech by commenting on Pakistan’s promises on peace and restraint and how they were bound to be broken and the international community betrayed.
“Finally, Mr President, we have heard Pakistan, whose nuclear proliferation record is marked by deception and deceit, talking 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,” Eenam concluded.