‘Epicentre of global terror shouldn’t lecture on human rights in J-K’: India’s response to Pakistan at UN

Updated on Feb 26, 2020 10:00 PM IST

Delivering India’s national statement at the meeting, Swarup also called for “decisive action against those who direct, control, fund, abet or shelter terrorists”.

Indian envoy Vikas Swarup refuted Pakistan’s allegations on human rights abuses in Kashmir during a session at UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Feb 24, 2020.(ANI/ Twitter)
Indian envoy Vikas Swarup refuted Pakistan’s allegations on human rights abuses in Kashmir during a session at UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Feb 24, 2020.(ANI/ Twitter)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Pakistan, the “epicentre of global terrorism”, shouldn’t lecture others on human rights issues in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, a senior Indian diplomat told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup was responding to Pakistan human rights minister Shireen Mazari’s allegations on Tuesday about rights abuses in Kashmir during a session of the UN body in Geneva.

Delivering India’s national statement at the meeting, Swarup also called for “decisive action against those who direct, control, fund, abet or shelter terrorists”. Though the Indian statement didn’t name Pakistan in this regard, it was clear which country it was referring to.

Swarup said it was logical to respond to remarks by the delegation of Pakistan, which is the “epicentre of global terrorism”, on the situation in Kashmir.

“Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of India. The transformative changes wrought by our Parliament last August were meant to strengthen the integration of the state, including to give fullest play to representative government from the grassroots level upward,” he said, referring to the Indian government’s decision to scrap the erstwhile state’s special status.

The change was also aimed at extending all progressive legislations to cover Kashmir and to resume the pace of socio-economic development in the region, he said.

“It is more than a little ironical that a nation that has become the world’s leading exporter of terror and violence seeks to lecture others about human rights,” Swarup said about Mazari’s remarks on Kashmir.

In her speech, Mazari had demanded an immediate end to restrictions in Kashmir and the release of all political leaders from detention. She had contended that India would be emboldened if the world community failed to act.

Mazari’s speech at the UN council was in line with Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, which it has sought to raise at bodies such as the UN Security Council. India has responded to these efforts by saying the changes in Kashmir are an “internal” matter.

Swarup also said the changes had resulted in positive results. “Despite Pakistan’s best efforts – over decades – to destabilise this state through externally instigated terror and a campaign of canards and untruth, the situation on the ground is quite normal. Most temporary restrictions – imposed solely to ensure safety of the people from Pakistani trained terrorist attacks –have already been removed, political processes have resumed, telecom facilities have been largely restored, developmental activities are being undertaken at a rapid pace and there is access for all to education and healthcare,” he said.

This was achieved “despite Pakistan’s frenetic attempts to promote both violence within our territory – with an 81% increase in infiltration attempts since last August – and disinformation outside”, he added.

Noting that terrorism is the “most pernicious violation” of the fundamental right to life, Swarup said India is happy that the HRC advisory committee is working on a report on the matter. “We remain ready to work with all partners to fully stop all support from reaching terrorists, denying terrorists access to safe havens, and extraditing and bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, and their supporters,” he said.

He also rejected Pakistan’s “advice and warnings” about the situation within India, saying that “someone should give them the power to see themselves as others see them”.

“Let me tell the delegation from Pakistan that India is a nation where democracy, including the right to protest, is vibrantly and noisily celebrated every day, where diversity has been a way of life since times immemorial and where dignity of every human is protected by a robust constitutional framework,” he said.

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