UNGA: India questions Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s claim to be protector of Muslims
India on Friday slammed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s verbal attack on India at the UN General Assembly as a “new low” for the world body on its 75th anniversary, and questioned his claim to be a champion of Muslims when he is unable to protect them in his own country.
An Indian diplomat, who delivered India’s response to the Pakistan PM’s diatribe, also sought to remind Khan of the “genocide” perpetrated by his country on Muslims of erstwhile East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh, without naming them.
India sought to target the Pakistan PM’s attempt to position himself as a champion of Muslims to align himself with leading Islamic countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
“This august forum witnessed today a new low on its 75th anniversary,” said Mijito Vinito, a diplomat at the Indian permanent mission to the UN, reading a statement under the UNGA debates’ “right of reply” rule, which gives member countries an opportunity to respond if criticised.
“For someone who professes to be a champion of Islam, this is also a country that has encouraged the 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,” the India diplomat said.
Vinito was referring to the killing of Muslims of the Shia and Sufi sects in Pakistan by terrorists sheltered and supported by the state, the large number of people killed and missing in Balochistan, a restive province of Pakistan, and those killed in cross-border attacks in Kashmir.
The Indian diplomat went on to cite the most glaring instance yet of a Muslim-majority country turning upon its own people. “This is the country that brought genocide to South Asia 39 years back when it killed its own people,” Vinito said, addressing Khan’s use of the word “genocide” in his speech as he had attacked India without apparent evidence.
He added, “This is also the country that is shameless enough not to offer a sincere apology for the horrors it perpetrated even after so many years.”
The “genocide” the Indian diplomat referred to was the killing of between 300,000 and 3,000,000 people in current-day Bangladesh, mostly Muslims, by the Pakistan Army in 1971 to quell an independence movement that succeeded eventually with the help of the Indian Army.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the UNGA at 6.30pm India time.