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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Imran Khan’s hate speech had no statesmanship: India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not mentioned Pakistan even once in his speech, the first time for an India leader’s speech at the UNGA in eight years.

world Updated: Sep 29, 2019 02:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
New York
PM Narendra Modi, back from his US visit, waves at a crowd outside the Palam Technical Airport in New Delhi on Saturday.
PM Narendra Modi, back from his US visit, waves at a crowd outside the Palam Technical Airport in New Delhi on Saturday.(PTI)
         

India on Friday slammed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for delivering a “hate speech” at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which “bordered on crudeness” and said his justification of terrorism was “brazen and incendiary”. Exercising its right of reply, India also posed five questions to UN observers invited by Khan to visit Pakistan and verify his claim that there were no militants there.

Separately, through a spokesperson, India responded to Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s observations on Jammu & Kashmir in his speech and said recent developments in the state are a “matter internal to India” and said countries should “desist” from changing the status quo through the “illegal so-called” China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

At the UNGA, India focussed on Pakistan. “What we heard today from Prime Minister Imran Khan was a callous portrayal of the world in binary terms,” Vidisha Maitra, a first secretary at the Indian mission to the UN, said late Friday night. “Us vs them; rich vs poor; north vs south; developed vs developing; Muslims vs others. A script that fosters divisiveness at the UN. Attempts to sharpen differences and stir up hatred are simply put — ‘hate speech’.”

“For someone who was once a cricketer and believed in the gentleman’s game, today’s speech bordered on crudeness of the variety that is reminiscent of the guns of Darra Adam Khel,” the young diplomat said, referring to Pakistan’s notorious weapons market.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not mentioned Pakistan even once in his speech, the first time for an India leader’s speech at the UNGA in eight years. Prime Minister Khan was all about India and Kashmir as he had vowed to, with words and phrases intended to draw an apocalyptic picture of the situation on the subcontinent.

Mishra said his choice of words reflected, instead, a ““medieval mindset”, and his justification of terrorism was “brazen and incendiary” even though it came from the prime minister of a country that has “monopolised the entire value chain of the industry of terrorism”.

The Indian diplomat then went on to pose a set of five questions for the UN observers that Khan has invited to Pakistan.

“Can Pakistan confirm the fact that it is home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN, as of today?” the diplomat asked.

“Will Pakistan acknowledge that it is the only government in the world that provides pension to an individual listed by the UN in the Al Qaeda and Da’esh Sanctions list!” That was a reference to Hafiz Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder who has been drawing a pension from the government as a former college teacher.

“Can Pakistan explain why here in New York, its premier bank, the Habib Bank, had to shut shop after it was fined millions of dollars over terror financing?” A New York banking regulator fined the bank $225 million in 2017 and kicked it out of the US for flawed procedures that “opened the door” to financing terrorism.

“Will Pakistan deny that the Financial Action Task Force has put the country on notice for its violations of more than 20 of the 27 key parameters?” Pakistan could be moved from the watchdog’s “grey list” to the “black list” if it is still in non-compliance in October.

“And would Prime Minister Khan deny to the city of New York that he was an open defender of Osama bin Laden?”

The Indian diplomat also addressed Khan’s concerns about the state of human rights in Kashmir, mocking him as a “newfound champion”, saying he heads a country that has “shrunk the size of its minority community from 23% in 1947 to 3% today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions”.

Speaking of pogroms, a word used by Khan, the diplomat addressed him by his full name Imran Khan Niazi and reminded him of the other Niazi — Lt General AAK Niazi — who as the commander of Pakistani forces in then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) oversaw the massacre of hundred and thousands of people in 1971.

Defending developments in Kashmir, Mishra said, “While Pakistan has ventured to upstream terrorism and downstream hate speech there, India is going ahead with mainstreaming development in Jammu & Kashmir. The mainstreaming of Jammu % Kashmir, as well as Ladakh, in India’s thriving and vibrant democracy with a millennia-old heritage of diversity, pluralism and tolerance is well and truly underway. Irreversibly so.”

First Published: Sep 29, 2019 02:05 IST

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