UNITED NATIONS: In its sharpest attack on Pakistan, India today called it a “terrorist state” which carries out “war crimes” by using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”, after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif glorified Hizbul commander Burhan Wani at the United Nations.
India also strongly rejected Sharif’s call for “a serious and sustained” bilateral dialogue “without any conditions”, saying that Pakistan, which “seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government”, wants talks with a “gun in its hand”.
Strongly reacting to Sharif’s remarks at the UN General Assembly session, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar described them as full of “threat, bluster and complete disregard of facts” as he said glorification of Wani by him at the world forum is an act of “self-incrimination” by Pakistan.
He said it is “shocking” that a leader of a nation can “glorify a self-declared self-advertised terrorist” at a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly.
“We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Burhan Wani was a self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, this organization is widely acknowledged internationally as a terrorist group,” Akbar said at a briefing to Indian reporters here responding to Sharif’s General Debate address at the UN.
“This is self-incrimination by the Pakistan Prime Minister. We just heard a speech full of threat, bluster and what can only be described as rising immaturity and complete disregard of facts,” he said.
In his nearly 20-minute speech, almost half of which was focused on Kashmir, Sharif had hailed Wani – who was killed on July 8 by the Indian forces resulting in tensions in the Valley – as a “young leader” and the “symbol” of the Kashmiris’ freedom movement.
Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir made a strong rebuttal.
“The worst violation of human rights is terrorism.”When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime,” she said.
“What my country and our other neighbors are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she added.
Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbors.
In a reference to JeM chief Masood Azhar and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, she said terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with State’s support. “With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organizations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” Gambhir said.
“Even today we have heard support by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organization,” she said.
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.
Akbar said: “Pakistan at this moment seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government. Pakistan wants dialogue while holding a terrorist gun in its hand. Talks and guns don’t go together.
“Our position on a dialogue has been consistent. We have always been ready for a dialogue but we will not succumb to the blackmail tactics of the government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorists and terrorism as policy.”
Sharif had said that Islamabad is open to discuss “all measures of restraint and responsibility” with India, in “any forum or format and without any conditions” but blamed India for posing “unacceptable preconditions” to engage in a dialogue.
Gambhir said Pakistan was a “democracy deficit” country and “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,” she added.
Gambhir voiced India’s firm resolve to protect all its citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and said “we cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail”.
She reminded the UN that the trail of the most “horrifying” and “dastardly terror attack” of 9/11 led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been hiding for years and was killed by US forces.
She also noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centers of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.
“The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe,” she said, adding that it is ironical that a country which has established itself as the global epicenter of terrorism, is preaching human rights and talks about the ostensible support for self-determination.
She also told the UN General Assembly that shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” in the world body, 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 neighbor and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country,” she said.–PTI