Pakistan has become a land of ‘pure terror’: India at UNGA

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan prime minister accused India of violating the Line of Control in Kashmir, saying there were 600 incidents since January in 2017

india Updated: Sep 22, 2017 17:46 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.(REUTERS)

Pakistan has now become ‘terroristan’, India told the United Nations on Thursday in reaction to Islamabad accusing New Delhi of carrying out war crimes in Kashmir.

“In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure (“Pak” is Urdu for pure) has actually produced the land of pure terror. Pakistan is now Terroristan,” India’s statement addressed to the United Nations general assembly president said.

India’s statement, expressed as a right of reply to aggressive remarks made hours earlier by Pakistani prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, represents an escalation of a usually shrill war of words between the two countries.

At one point, the Indian statement referred to Pakistan solely as ‘Terroristan’. “Terroristan is in fact a territory whose contribution to the globalisation of terror is unparalleled.”

In his first remarks to the UN general assembly, Pakistan’s new prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi launched a scathing attack on India, reiterating known positions of the government in Islamabad irrespective of the party and person in charge.

Abbasi also took aim at the United States seemingly, harnessing a sense of distress felt at home by growing alienation from a one-time ally. Without naming the US or President Trump, Abbasi spoke of “rising racism and religious hatred” and “physical walls” and “psychological barriers”.

But Abbasi saved the most acrimonious allegations for India. “Pakistan demands an international investigation into India’s crimes in Kashmir,” he said and demanded “an inquiry Commission” be sent to Kashmir “to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of those responsible and provide justice and relief to the victims”.

India hit back, saying, “It is extraordinary that the state which protected Osama Bin Laden and sheltered Mullah Omar has the gumption to play the victim”.

The statement referred to Hafiz Saeed, the man regarded the plotter of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “Its current state can be gauged from the fact that Hafiz Mohammed a leader of the UN designated terrorist organization Lashkar-i-Taiba, is now sought to be legitimized as a leader of a political party.”

A party led by Saeed is fighting elections in Pakistan.

India also rejected Abbasi’s comments regarding Kashmir. “In so far as India is concerned, Pakistan must understand that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of India. However much it scales up cross -border terrorism, it will never succeed in undermining India’s territorial integrity.”

Earlier, the prime minister from Islamabad said India was not willing to resume dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute and the Security Council must dispatch a special envoy. “To this end,” he added, “the UN Secretary-General should appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir.”

On terrorism, Abbasi protested, as his predecessor before him, “Pakistan’s counter-terrorism credentials cannot be questioned”. It has been a leading victim of terrorism, he said.

“Yes, cross border attacks do occur,” he said in reference to is western border, with Afghanistan, but, intriguingly, he claimed, “These are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from ‘safe havens’ across the border.”

Islamabad has denied sheltering terrorists or the that they grant them “safe havens”.

There was no mention of those operating across the eastern border.

Abbasi went on to say terrorism is now a global phenomenon, which must be addressed comprehensively. “We see two major gaps in the global counter-terrorism strategy. First, the international community has failed to address the issue of state-sponsored terrorism. This is an instrument of choice of the agents of chaos and aspiring hegemons.”

First Published: Sep 22, 2017 08:41 IST