United Nations, Sep 28 (IANS) India has hit back at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s UNGA address, saying his speech bordered on crudeness and while Islamabad has “ventured to upstream terrorism and downstream hate speech, New Delhi was going ahead with mainstreaming development in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Using strong words, Vidisha Maitra, First Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, exercising India’s right of reply to Khan’s speech, said on Friday night: “Rarely has the General Assembly witnessed such misuse, rather abuse, of an opportunity to reflect.”
She said the choice of Khan’s words to attack India, like “pogrom”, “bloodbath”, “racial superiority”, “pick up the gun” and “fight to the end”, reflected a “medieval mindset and not a 21st Century vision”.
She said Pakistan’s “virulent reaction to the removal of an outdated and temporary provision (Article 370) that was hindering development and integration of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir stems from the fact that those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.
“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,” she added.
Maitra added that Khan’s “threat of unleashing nuclear devastation qualifies as brinksmanship, not statesmanship”.
“Every word spoken from the podium of this August Assembly, it is believed, carries the weight of history. 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 UN. Attempts to sharpen differences and stir up hatred, are simply put – ‘hate speech’.”
Sharply targeting Khan, Maitra said: “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.”
She said that since Khan has invited UN Observers to Pakistan to verify that there were “no militant organisations in Pakistan, the world will hold him to that promise”.
Maitra also posed a few questions that Pakistan can respond to in respect to the proposed verification by the UN.
“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?
“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 (Islamic State) 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?”
Maitra said that “having mainstreamed terrorism and hate speech, Pakistan is trying to play its wild card as the newfound champion of human rights”.
On the state of Pakistan’s minorities, she said: “This is a country that has shrunk the size of its minority community from 23 per cent in 1947 to 3 per cent today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions.”
Pakistan’s “newfound fascination for preaching human rights is akin to trophy hunting of the endangered mountain goat – markhor”.
“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,” she said.
By using Khan’s surname Niazi, that he prefers not to use, India has highlighted his link with the Niazi clan of Pakistan, and the fact that he has been facing increasing calls of “Go Niazi Go Back”, even inside Parliament.
The name Niazi reminds Pakistanis of the humiliation of their defeat at India’s hands in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
The then commanding officer of the Pakistan Army, Lieutenant General Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, had surrendered his weapon to the Indian army commander, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, on December 16, 1971.