India, Pakistan slug it out at UNGA

Islamabad seeks UN probe into ‘India’s war crimes in Kashmir’, calls for expeditious, just, peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute; India hits back, says J&K its integral part, calls Pakistan ‘Terroristan’

GK Monitoring Desk
New York, Publish Date: Sep 22 2017 11:27PM | Updated Date: Sep 23 2017 1:16AM
India, Pakistan slug it out at UNGAFile Photo

India and Pakistan on Friday talked tough as well as traded heated accusations over the issue of Kashmir as well as terrorism at the UN general assembly, with Islamabad accusing New Delhi of “committing war crimes” in Kashmir while New Delhi hitting back and calling Pakistan “Terroristan, the land of pure terror.”

 

‘KASHMIR STRUGGLE BRUTALLY SUPRESSED’

The legitimate struggle for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be “brutally suppressed” by India’s forces, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi said on Friday and pitched for an international investigation into what he called “India’s war crimes” in Kashmir.

Addressing the 72nd session of the UN general assembly here, Abbasi said: “Unfortunately, from day one of its creation, Pakistan has faced unremitting hostility from its eastern neighbor. India refuses to implement the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council, which mandate a UN-supervised plebiscite to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to freely decide their destiny. Instead India has deployed nearly 700,000 troops in occupied Kashmir to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination.”

“This is the most intense foreign military occupation in recent history,” Abbasi said.

As in the past, he said, “today the Kashmiri people are waging a heroic and popular struggle to rid themselves of India’s oppressive rule. They come out in the streets daily to call on India to leave Kashmir.  India has responded with massive and indiscriminate force to suppress the Kashmiris, shooting indiscriminately at children, women and youth. Hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been killed or injured. Shotgun pellets have blinded and maimed thousands of Kashmiris including children. These and other brutalities clearly constitute war crimes and violate the Geneva Conventions.”

Pakistan, he said, demands an international investigation into “India’s crimes in Kashmir. We ask that the United Nations secretary-general and the high commissioner for human rights send an inquiry commission to occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of those responsible and provide justice and relief to the victims.”

“Pakistan also urges the international community to call on India to: halt pellet gun attacks and other violence against unarmed demonstrators; stop the use of rape as an instrument of state policy; end media blackouts; rescind its draconian emergency laws; and free all Kashmiri political leaders,” he said.

Abbasi said that to “divert the world’s attention from its brutalities”, India frequently violates the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir. “Despite over 600 violations since January this year Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of “limited” war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response. The international community must act decisively to prevent the situation from a dangerous escalation,” he said.

The Kashmir dispute should be resolved justly, peacefully and expeditiously, Abbasi said.

“As India is unwilling to resume the peace process with Pakistan, we call on the Security Council to fulfill its obligation to secure the implementation of its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. To this end, the UN Secretary-General should appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir. His mandate should flow from the longstanding but unimplemented resolutions of the Security Council,” he said.

He said that Pakistan remains open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir and discuss measures to maintain peace and security. “This dialogue must be accompanied by an end to India’s campaign of subversion and state sponsored terrorism against Pakistan, including from across our western border,” he said.

Abbassi said apart from the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and its people have suffered the most from four decades of “foreign intervention and civil wars in Afghanistan. These wars have blighted our country with the flow of extremists and terrorists, guns and drugs as well as an influx of millions of refugees. They have set back our economic development by decades. Even today, Pakistan is host to over 3 million Afghan refugees. No one desires peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan.”

“From 16 years of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, it is clear that peace will not be restored by the continuing resort to military force. Neither Kabul and the Coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, can impose a military solution on each other. The international community – as expressed in several United Nations resolutions – has concluded that peace can be restored in Afghanistan only through a negotiated settlement. Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan. We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat. Taliban “safe havens” are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he said.

“Yes, cross border attacks do occur. These are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from “safe havens” across the border. To end all cross border attacks we ask the Afghan government and the Coalition to support and complement Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen border controls and monitor all movement across it. What Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil. Nor can we endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries.”

“Pakistan believes that the urgent and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be: One, concerted action to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and their affiliates including the TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which was recently declared a terrorist organization by the Security Council. Two, promote negotiations between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban – in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) or any trilateral format – to evolve a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. These two steps offer the most realistic prospect of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan and our region,” he said.

Abbasi said that Pakistan’s counter-terrorism credentials cannot be questioned. “After 9/11 it was Pakistani efforts that enabled the decimation of Al-Qaeda. Pakistan’s military campaigns have succeeded in clearing our tribal areas of almost all militant groups.  We took the war to the terrorists. We have paid a heavy price. Over 27,000 Pakistanis including 6,500 military and law enforcement personnel have been martyred by terrorists. 50,000 Pakistani nationals have been injured, including 15,000 army personnel, many of whom have lost their limbs,” he said. “We have fought the war against terror with our own resources. Pakistan’s economic losses are estimated at over $120 billion. Yet, we remain committed to fully implementing our National Action Plan against terrorism and extremism. Defeating terrorist violence is vital to realize our overriding priority of rapid economic and social development.”

“Terrorism is now a global phenomenon, which must be addressed comprehensively. We see two major gaps in the global counter-terrorism strategy. First, the international community has failed to address the issue of state-sponsored terrorism. This is an instrument of choice of the agents of chaos and aspiring hegemons. In several regions, stability will be difficult to restore unless State-sponsored terrorism is condemned, prohibited and punished. Second, to eliminate terrorism, its root causes must be addressed. These are not only poverty and ignorance; terrorism is even more an extreme response to real or perceived political and other grievances, including foreign intervention, oppression and injustice. Unless such root causes are addressed, it will be difficult to counter the twisted narrative of terrorist groups,” he said.

Confronted by a “hostile and increasingly militarised neighbor”, Pakistan has been obliged to maintain the capability for credible deterrence, he said.

“My country developed nuclear weapons only when these were introduced in our region by this neighbor. Our strategic assets are vital to deter oft-threatened aggression. They are tightly and effectively controlled, as has been widely acknowledged by experts. The world community would be well served by enabling Pakistan to join global non-proliferation arrangements, such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group on a nondiscriminatory basis,” Abbasi said.

He said the vision of shared growth– spelt out in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative –offers a solid path to prosperity and a model of South-South cooperation worthy of emulation.

“Pakistan’s economy has recorded a remarkable revival in the past four years. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will further contribute to our economic upsurge. This will expand exponentially as the Pakistan-China partnership extends beyond energy and transportation to many other sectors.

 

‘PAKISTAN IS TERRORISTAN’

India on Friday strongly hit back at Pakistan and called the country as “Terroristan” which is “a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism.”

Exercising right to reply in response to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi’s statement at the UN general assembly, India's first secretary to the United Nations Eenam Gambhir said: “Pakistan’s current state can be gauged from the fact that Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, a leader of the UN designated terrorist organization Lashkar-i-Taiba, is now sought to be legitimised as a leader of a political party. This is a country whose counter terrorism policy is to mainstream and upstream terrorists by either providing safe havens to global terror leaders in its military town, or protecting them with political careers.”

“None of this can justify Pakistan's avaricious efforts to covet the territories of its neighbours. In so far as India is concerned, Pakistan must understand that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of India. However much it scales up cross-border terrorism, it will never succeed in undermining India's territorial integrity,” Gambhir said.

She said that it is “extraordinary that the state which protected Osama Bin Laden and sheltered Mullah Omar should have the gumption to play the victim. By now, all Pakistan's neighbours are painfully familiar with these tactics to create a narrative based on distortions, deception and deceit. This august Assembly and the world beyond know that efforts at creating alternative facts do not change reality.”

“In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure has actually produced "the land of pure terror". We also heard Pakistan complain about the consequences of its supposed counter terrorism efforts. Having diverted billions of dollars in international military and development aid towards creating a dangerous infrastructure of terror on its own territory, Pakistan is now speaking of the high cost of its terror industry. The polluter, in this case, is paying the price,” Gambhir said.

“Even as terrorists thrive in Pakistan and roam its streets with impunity, we have heard it lecture about the protection of human rights in India. The world does not need lessons on democracy and human rights from a country whose own situation is charitably described as a failed state. Terroristan is in fact a territory whose contribution to the gobalisation of terror is unparalleled. Pakistan can only be counseled to abandon a destructive worldview that has caused grief to the entire world.”

The first secretary said that if it could be persuaded to demonstrate any commitment to civilization, order, and to peace, it may still find some acceptance in the comity of nations.

 

‘DOVAL STRATEGY WILL NEVER SUCCEED’

Pakistan on Friday said that India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's "offensive defense and double squeeze" strategy to make India a regional hegemon will never succeed.

Exercising its right to reply in the UNGA, Pakistan said it is "unfortunate" that India has chosen to criticise the statement of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Kashmir "which reflects the sentiments and aspirations of the oppressed and suffering people" of Kashmir.

"The strategy offensive defense and double squeeze floated blatantly by NSA Doval which India believes can make it a regional hegemon can never succeed," Tipu Usman, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, said.

"Indian operators of mayhem and terror such as commander Jadav caught red-handed in Pakistan while spreading sabotage, terrorism and espionage can never fulfill Indian dreams, which will remain just that dreams,” Pakistan said.

The diplomat said the "plight" of Kashmiri people at the hands of the Indian security forces is being documented by the international community and rights organisations.

He said the people of Kashmir look towards the international community especially members of the UN Security Council to deliver on their pledge to hold a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN's auspices, to enable them to decide their future.

"Let me reemphasise and reject any misconceptions that India may have wished to create. India is responsible for undermining regional peace and stability,” he said.

The Pakistani diplomat alleged that due to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling by Indian forces on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir at least 10 civilians including many women have lost their lives on the Pakistan side.

"The shelling continues unabated, a sad reminder of Indian intransigence and stubbornness. This too shall fail,” said the Pakistani diplomat. 

(with PTI inputs)