Look who’s talking, Pakistan is an export factory of terror: Sushma Swaraj at UNGA
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Look who’s talking, Pakistan is an export factory of terror: Sushma Swaraj at UNGA

The external affairs minister took a dig at Pakistan and asked its leaders to introspect as to why it’s infamous as the “pre- eminent export factory for terror”.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2017 22:54 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Pakistan,UNGA,United Nations
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly, on September 23, 2017, at UN headquarters.(AP Photo)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday called Pakistan “the pre-eminent export factory for terror” that gave its own people and the world nothing but terrorism, and accused its leaders of hypocrisy in talk and actions in regard to bringing peace to the subcontinent. (HIGHLIGHTS)

The two neighbours became independent within hours of each other, Swaraj told the UN General Assembly in New York and proceeded to draw out the stark contrast in the paths they had followed.

“We have marched ahead, consistently, without pause” and created IITs, IIMs and AIIMS and “produced scholars, doctors, engineers and scientists”, she said, addressing herself to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had addressed the session earlier in the week.

Responding to Abbasi’s allegation that India was involved in state-sponsored terrorism and widespread human rights violations, Swaraj said, “Everyone who heard that speech said, ‘Look who’s talking’.”

While India was engaged solely in efforts to develop itself, “Pakistan is only engaged in fighting us,” she added.

“What have you produced? You have produced terrorists and terrorist camps.” And she went on to name a few of the groups - Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen and the Haqqani Network.

“Why is it that today India is a recognized IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?” she asked, setting up the subcontinental rivalry in a context often lost during the heated exchange of accusations and counter-accusations.

Swaraj called on the UN to unite to fight the evil of terrorism — saying “evil is evil” — and not to differentiate between “good” and “bad” terrorists and not allow “self-interest” to lead nations into taking duplicitous positions.

Without naming China in this context, she referred to its efforts blocking the UN designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar and asked, “If even the UN Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, how can we fight together?”

Swaraj also renewed India’s call for speeding up UN reforms to expand the Security Council with a sense of urgency, to include more permanent members — India is a leading claimant.

And she reiterated the country’s commitment to the Paris Accord on climate change, asserting it was not impelled by fear or influence or “tempted by some imagined greed”, a thinly veiled response to US President Donald Trump’s charge that India was in it for “billions and billions in foreign aid”.

Swaraj also spoke of large-scale movement of refugees (from West Asia) causing global anxiety, the return of nuclear proliferation (North Korea), maritime security, cyber security, unemployment, gender discrimination, poverty, hunger and the progress of India’s own poverty alleviation programme.

But as anticipated, she dealt at some length on Pakistan, issuing a forceful rejoinder to the Pakistani premier, who had accused India from that podium of human rights violations in Kashmir and refusing to resume the stalled peace process.

Swaraj said, “A country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.”

She proceeded to rebut Abbasi’s claims that while Pakistan wanted peace, it was India that was holding back. She reminded Pakistan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer of a “hand of peace and friendship” immediately after taking office. “Pakistan’s Prime Minister must answer why his nation spurned this offer.”

Swaraj accused Pakistan’s politicians of “forgetting” inconvenient facts such as their commitment to bilateral dialogue — as agreed in the Simla Agreement of 1971 and the Lahore Declaration in 1999 — while invoking UN resolutions on Kashmir that “have been long overtaken by events”.

Opening up the question of terrorism to the larger world body, Swaraj called on it to take a close look at progress on the issue. “We all condemn this evil, and piously resolve to fight it in all our declaratory statements. The truth is that these have become rituals. The fact is that when we are required to fight and destroy this enemy, the self-interest of some leads them towards duplicity.”

That was meant for China.

Swaraj went on to urge world leaders to prove their sincerity by reaching an agreement by the yearend on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism proposed by India in 1996.

Following Swaraj’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her for the “incredible” speech, saying she had made India “extremely proud”.

“ A strong message was given by Sushma Swaraj Ji on the dangers of terrorism and why we have to unite and fight this menace,” he tweeted.

First Published: Sep 23, 2017 21:33 IST