UN General Assembly: India dismisses Pakistan PM’s criticism on Kashmir issue
India has dismissed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reference to Kashmir and criticism of the Indian government in his address to the UN General Assembly, saying the neighbouring country’s unrelenting support to terrorism poses a threat to global security.
In his pre-recorded video statement to the UN General Assembly on Friday, Khan made repeated references to India and the Kashmir issue and called on the world community to prosecute Indian personnel allegedly involved in “state terrorism” and “crimes against humanity” in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian delegate present in the General Assembly, Mijito Vinito, first secretary at the Indian mission to the UN, had walked out as Khan’s video statement was being played on a large overhead screen.
India subsequently exercised its “right of reply” to respond to Khan’s speech, and the response was delivered by Vinito, who said: “Let me assert here loud and clear: The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. The rules and legislations brought in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are strictly internal affairs of India.
“The only dispute left in Kashmir relates to that part of Kashmir that is still under illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to vacate all those areas that it is in illegal occupation of.”
Vinito, a diplomat from the 2010 batch of the Indian Foreign Service who hails from Nagaland, also referred to Pakistan’s track record in failing to effectively counter terrorism.
“What should rather be on the agenda of the UN is Pakistan’s deep state and its unrelenting political and financial support to terrorist organisations and mercenaries, which are a threat to global peace and security,” he said.
“The only way for Pakistan to become a normal country is to abjure its moral, financial and material support to terrorism, turn its attention to the problems faced by its own population, including its minorities, and stop misusing UN platforms to further its nefarious agenda.”
Khan’s address, Vinito said, marked a “new low” on the 75th anniversary of the UN. “The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed. But, as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?” he added.
The General Assembly had “heard the incessant rant of someone who had nothing to show for himself, who had no achievements to speak of, and no reasonable suggestion to offer to the world”, and instead Khan offered “lies, misinformation, war mongering and malice”, the Indian delegate said.
“For a nation that is deeply buried in medievalism, it is understandable that the tenets of a modern civilised society such as peace, dialogue and diplomacy are farfetched,” Vinito said.
The Indian response pointed out that Pakistan had “brought genocide to South Asia 39 years back when it killed its own people”, and the country is “shameless enough not to offer a sincere apology for the horrors it perpetrated even after so many years”.
Vinito added, “This is the same country that provides pensions for dreaded and listed terrorists out of state funds. This is the same country that has the dubious distinction of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN.”
He noted that Khan had once referred to slain al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as a “martyr” in Pakistan’s Parliament, and admitted in the US in 2019 that Pakistan still has 30,000 to 40,000 trained terrorists who have fought in Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir.
“This is the country that has systematically cleansed its minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of its blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions. For someone who professes to be a champion of Islam, this is also a country that has encouraged killing of fellow Muslims merely because they belonged to a different sect, or to a different region in Pakistan, and through sponsoring terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” Vinito said.
“The only crowning glory that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism, and clandestine nuclear trade,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address the UN General Assembly through a video statement on Saturday.