Pakistan invokes Arundhati Roy to attack Sushma Swaraj’s UN speech
Pakistan has invoked acclaimed Indian novelist Arundhati Roy to attack external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s UN General Assembly speech where she denounced Islamabad as the “world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity”.
“Much of what is in the air in India now is pure terror, in Kashmir, in other places,” Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi on Saturday evening quoted a statement made by Roy.
Delving into Indian politics, Lodhi also borrowed the standard lines of a section of Indian secularists who describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government as “fascist” and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath as a “fanatic”.
Usually a junior or mid-level diplomat delivers the rejoinders, but in a sign of how much it regards the impact of Swaraj’s speech, Pakistan took the unusual step of sending its permanent representative - one of the the senior-most officials in its diplomatic corps - to exercise its right of reply.
In her address earlier in the day, Swaraj said Pakistan was only interested in fighting India and sponsoring state terrorism.
Lodhi repeated the secularist line in India that “a racist and fascist ideology is firmly embedded in Modi’s government and that its leadership is drawn from the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) which is accused of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi”.
She slammed Adityanath’s election to head Uttar Pradesh, saying “the government has appointed a fanatic as the Chief Minister of India’s largest state”.
“It is a government, which has allowed the lynching of Muslims,” Lodhi said.
She went on to quote from Roy’s November 2015 statement: “These horrific murders are only a symptom. Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations of Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and Christians are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault would come.”
Roy, who won the 1997 Booker Prize for her novel, “The God of Small Things”, recently published her second novel, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness”, which unlike her first is political.
Lodhi took particular objection to Swaraj’s observation about Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said, bequeathed a foreign policy based on peace and friendship.
Swaraj said it “remains open to question whether Jinnah Sahab actually advocated such principles.”
Lodhi said Pakistan remained open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India but it should include Kashmir and end what she claimed was a “campaign of subversion and state-sponsored terrorism”.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- The government has allowed on-the-spot administration of the vaccine from among the beneficiaries already enrolled on the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) portal, if those listed at a vaccination centre for the day did not turn up.
- General Naravane said dependence on imported military hardware could create vulnerabilities during a crisis, and self-reliance in the defence sector was a “strategic necessity”.
- The NMCH administration claimed it had sent the list of nearly 800 health care workers and 1,400 hospital staff to Patna civil surgeon last December, but names of those from the in medical college were missing from the Co-Win portal
- Odisha on Thursday exceeded its target of Covid-19 vaccination by inoculating 44,880 frontline health workers against an aim of 37,076 as vaccinators in 20 of the 30 districts managed to surpass the target.
- India first posted a dedicated ambassador to ASEAN in 2014 following the elevation of ties between the two sides to a strategic partnership and in view of growing cooperation in areas ranging from security to trade.
- Police claimed that Sandip Singh alias Baba who was arrested on Thursday from his Ambedkarnagar hideout told them that Ajit Singh was killed on the orders of two jailed gangsters after he refused to turn hostile in court.