Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used his speech at the UN General Assembly to mount one of his strongest attacks on India on the Kashmir issue, describing militant commander Burhan Wani as a “murdered” young leader and calling for a UN fact-finding mission to probe rights violations.
India’s swift response was equally strong, describing Pakistan as a terrorist state that is “host to the Ivy League of terrorism”. India also said Pakistan is “run by a war machine rather than a government” even as it ruled out ruled out dialogue as long as Islamabad used “terrorists and terrorism as policy”.
Here are key takeaways from the Pakistani premier’s speech and India’s response :
* He said confrontation should not be the destiny in South Asia and Pakistan wants peace with India. “I have gone the extra mile to achieve this, repeatedly offering a dialogue to address all outstanding issues. But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue,” he added.
* He said peace between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without resolving the Kashmir dispute. “Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada...,” he said. Sharif said Pakistan will hand over to the UN Secretary-General a dossier on alleged rights violations in Kashmir. He also called for an “independent inquiry into the extrajudicial killings” and a UN fact-finding mission to “investigate brutalities”.
* Sharif called for the Kashmiri people to be given the right to self-determination, steps by the UN to de-militarise Jammu and Kashmir and consultations with India, Pakistan and the representatives of the Kashmiri people to implement Security Council resolutions.
* He also offered a “serious and sustained dialogue” to settle all outstanding disputes, especially Kashmir, and said Pakistan wants to establish strategic stability in the region. He further said Pakistan cannot ignore India’s arms build-up and will take measures to maintain credible deterrence. He also offered talks on a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty and bilateral arms control and disarmament measures to prevent conflict.
* Sharif said Pakistan is fully eligible for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group as he sought reform of the Security Council without “creating new centers of privilege”.
* Pakistan is a “terrorist state” that channels billions of dollars to training and backing terror groups as “militant proxies against it neighbours”, said Eenam Gambhir, first secretary in India’s permanent mission to the UN, while responding to Sharif’s speech. “The worst violation of human rights is terrorism. When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime,” she added. Referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011, she said Pakistan is “now host to the Ivy League of terrorism”.
* Criticising Sharif’s glorification of Wani, minister of state for external affairs MJ Akbar said this was “self-incrimination” by the Pakistani leader. Akbar said it was shocking that a leader of a nation could “glorify a self-declared, self-advertised terrorist” at the UN General Assembly.
* Rejecting Sharif’s call for talks, Akbar said Pakistan is talking about dialogue with a “terrorist gun in its hand”. Pakistan “seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government” and “talks and guns don’t go together”, he added. Referring to Sharif’s remarks about going the “extra mile” for peace, Akbar said: “We have not seen the first mile. Where is the question of the extra mile?”
* Dismissing Sharif’s allegations about rights violations in Kashmir, Akbar said “the only occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a part of India, is the occupation of a part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan’s occupation army”. Pakistan’s use of war and terrorism has been at the cost of development and the people of Pakistan were “paying the price of a malevolent policy”, he said.
* Gambhir said Pakistan was a “country with a democracy deficit” that “practices terrorism on its own people”. It also suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights, she added. She further said Pakistan’s “nuclear proliferation record is marked by deception and deceit” and the country had made “false promises” to the international community on terrorism.