Using a two-pronged tactic in the Human Rights Council, Pakistan has raised the Kashmir issue while speaking on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and then for itself. In its reply during the debate on Wednesday at the UN in Geneva, India rejected the OIC statement saying the group had no standing in India’s internal affairs and accused Pakistan of using “terrorism as a state policy under the guise of concern for human rights.”
Islamabad also brought up Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan accused of being an Indian intelligence agent, while replying to India’s counter-statement. Sumit Seth, a Counsellor in India’s Mission in Geneva, said that the world does not need lessons in democracy and human rights from a “failed state” that has a record of protecting terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, persecuting minorities with blasphemy laws and enforcing disappearances.
“As regards the references to India in the OIC statement of earlier today, we outrightly reject all those references,” he said. “The OIC has no locus standi on India’s internal affairs,” he said. A Second Secretary in Pakistan’s Geneva UN Mission, Qazi Saleem Ahmed Khan, speaking on behalf of the OIC, tried to link Kashmir to Palestine.
Speaking about a 17-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, who is on trial before an Israeli military tribunal on charges of assaulting Israeli soldiers, he slipped in a reference to Insha Mushtaq, a 16-year-old Kashmiri girl who lost her eyesight when hit by pellets fired by security forces. In September, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Maleeha Lodhi held up a picture of an injured Palestinian girl that had been published in The New York Times claiming she was Kashmiri.
Later during Wednesday’s debate, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Faruk Amil, said he was concerned about what he called the drift of India towards a “political order marked by extremism and rank communalism”. He referred to the beef controversy in India and alleged that Muslims carrying beef were being lynched.
Seth, in his right of reply, said, “Various international organisations have repeatedly reported on how enforced disappearances continue with impunity in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh where people are routinely abducted and unlawfully killed.” “More than a million people remain displaced as a result of the current and past armed conflicts in the northwest of Pakistan,” he added.
“Women and girls, especially from minority communities, are abducted and forcibly married. The minorities are persecuted, including through notorious blasphemy laws,” he said. “Terrorism is the most fundamental violation of human rights. Pakistan has long been attempting to mask its territorial ambitions in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inseparable part of India, and use of terrorism as a state policy under the guise of concern for human rights,” Seth said.
“Pakistan has continued to support cross-border terrorism in India,” he said. “We await credible action by the government of Pakistan to bring all those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack and the 2016 Pathankot and Uri attacks to justice. Is it not woefully farcical that the state which protected Osama Bin Laden and sheltered (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar should make the pretence of being a victim,” he asked.
Adding that in gross violation of a Security Council resolution, UN-designated terrorists like Hafiz Mohammed Saeed were freely operating in Pakistan with government support, and the groups designated as terrorist “are being politically mainstreamed in Pakistan”. Replying to Seth, a Pakistani delegate accused India of promoting terrorism in his country and claimed that Jadhav’s arrest was proof of it. He was cut off by the chair for exceeding his time limit as he made a long attack on India.
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