The message that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India should be “loud and clear” to Pakistan, India asserted on Monday, asking whether the government in Islamabad can clarify how safe havens for terrorists continue to flourish under its watch.
In its ‘Right of Reply’, India also rejected the “fanciful and misleading” remarks by the Pakistani envoy to the United Nations.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, earlier exercised the Right of Reply to Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s UNGA address, saying Swaraj’s remarks were a “litany of falsehoods” about Pakistan and a “travesty of facts and history”.
In her speech, Swaraj asked Pakistan to give up the dream of snatching Jammu and Kashmir and said all India had received in response to unprecedented peace overtures were a string of terror strikes and the export of cross-border terrorism.
Lodhi said Jammu and Kashmir can never be an integral part of India and is a “disputed territory”, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions of the UN Security Council.
“...It appears that the distinguished representative of Pakistan did not hear clearly what our minister of external affairs stated during her address earlier today,” Eenam Gambhir, first secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN, said.
Quoting from Swaraj’s address, Gambhir said Jammu and Kashmir is India’s integral part and will always remain so. “We hope that the message is loud and clear,” she said.
Gambhir said India rejects “entirely” Lodhi’s “sermons”, calling her remarks “the views of a dysfunctional state which builds atrocity upon atrocity on its own people, preaching about values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.”
India slammed Pakistan for making a “fanciful and misleading” presentation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying Lodhi’s remarks aim to divert the attention from Pakistan’s sponsorship of terror and do not answer questions posed by the world community.
“Can the representative of Pakistan clarify how is it that terror sanctuaries and safe havens in her country continue to flourish despite the Pakistan army’s much-vaunted counter terrorism operations, and the billions of dollars of international counter terrorism aid it obtains?
“Can the representative of Pakistan confirm that they do not use terrorist proxies and export terrorism as a matter of state policy,” Gambhir said, adding that can the Pakistani envoy deny that her country had assured in 2004 that it would not allow its territories, or territories under its control,to be used for terror attacks against India?
“And can the representative of Pakistan deny that it has failed to honour that assurance given at the highest level,” Gambhir said.
She also questioned whether the Pakistani representative will deny the armed forces of her country committed one of the most extensive and heinous genocides in human history in 1971.
“Will the representative of Pakistan deny that its armed forces have used airstrikes and artillery against its own people repeatedly? Will (she) explain why is it that Pakistan’s civil society is being silenced by the plethora of heavily armed militias that go by names such as ‘Jaish’ or Army, ‘Lashkar’ or Army, ‘Sipah’ or Soldiers and ‘Harkat’ or Armed movement,” Gambhir said.
Lodhi said the attack on an army base in northern Kashmir’s Uri where 18 soldiers died was “staged” to “divert” attention from the situation in Kashmir.
“The attack on the Indian Army base in Uri, particularly its timing, has all the hallmarks of an operation designed to divert attention” from the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
She accused India of “utilising” the Uri incident to blame Pakistan for the current Kashmir unrest. The state has been on the boil since the killing of a militant leader.
“India’s government is delusional if it believes that it can ‘isolate’ any country. It is India itself, which because of its war crimes in Kashmir and elsewhere, and because of its warmongering, is likely to be isolated in the international community,” Lodhi said.
The Pakistani envoy said Swaraj’s statement reflects the “deceit and hostility” of the Indian government towards Pakistan.
Lodhi said the call for “freedom” of the Kashmiri people has been met with “Indian brutality” and demanded an impartial investigation into the rights violations in Kashmir, echoing Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UNGA.
Lodhi blamed India for suspending talks with Pakistan more than a year ago, saying New Delhi has refused to resume them despite repeated offers from Pakistan and advice from the international community.
“The latest offer was made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from the rostrum of this very Assembly. But let us be clear, talks are no favour to Pakistan. They are in the interest of both India and Pakistan and the people of our two countries.
“Let me reiterate that Pakistan is ready and willing for serious and result-oriented talks with India, especially to resolve the longstanding core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, which is imperative for durable peace, stability and development in the region.”
In a second Right of Reply, Pakistan reiterated that Kashmir remains an internationally-recognised disputed territory.
Gambhir responded by saying that Pakistan has yet again “chosen to stay silent” on the tough questions.
“This is what we have come to expect from Pakistan - deception, deceit and denial. The world still waits their response,” Gambhir said.