Message on J&K should be ‘loud and clear’ to Pak: India

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The message that Kashmir is an integral part of India should be “loud and clear”, India today told Pakistan, calling it a “dysfunctional state” that commits atrocities on its own people and preaches about tolerance, democracy and human rights.

Responding to Pakistan’s Right of Reply (RoR), India also asked Pakistan if it can clarify how terror safe havens continue to flourish on its soil despite getting billions of dollars in anti-terrorism aid.

Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, exercising the RoR to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address to the UN General Assembly here yesterday, earlier said Pakistan rejects “all the baseless allegations” made by her and asserted that Kashmir never was and can never be an integral part of India.

She called Kashmir a “disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions of the UN Security Council”.

First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN Eenam Gambhir, in India’s Right of Reply to Lodhi’s remarks, said that it appears that the Pakistani envoy “did not hear clearly what our Minister of External Affairs stated during her address earlier today”.

Quoting Swaraj that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, and will always continue to do so, Gambhir said “we hope that the message is loud and clear”.

In the RoR, Lodhi claimed that the attack on the Indian Army base in Uri, particularly its timing, has all the “hallmarks of an operation designed” to divert attention from India’s “atrocities” in Kashmir.

“The international community is well aware that several such incidents have been staged in the past to serve India’s tactical and propaganda objectives,” she said, adding that India is utilising the Uri incident to blame Pakistan for the current Kashmiri uprising and divert attention from its ‘brutal’ occupation.

Gambhir, who had given India’s strong RoR to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s UN General Assembly address, said the world heard from Pakistan “the views of a dysfunctional state” which builds atrocity upon atrocity on its own people, preaching about values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.

“We reject entirely these sermons,” she said.

Gambhir said that the Pakistani envoy was making “a fanciful and misleading presentation” in her RoR on the situation in the Kashmir, in yet another attempt to divert international attention from her country’s continued sponsorship of terrorism.

Gambhir said Pakistan is not answering questions that are being posed to it by the international community such as how is it that terror sanctuaries and safe havens in her country continue to flourish despite the Pakistan army’s “much-vaunted counter terrorism operations, and the billions of dollars of international counter terrorism aid it obtains”.

“Can the representative of Pakistan confirm that they do not use terrorist proxies and export terrorism as a matter of state policy?

“Can the representative of Pakistan deny that Pakistan had assured in 2004 that it would not allow its territories, or territories under its control, to be used for terror attacks against India? And can the representative of Pakistan deny that it has failed to honour that assurance given at the highest level?” Gambhir asked.

India questioned whether the representative of Pakistan will deny that the armed forces of her country committed one of the most extensive and heinous genocides in human history in 1971.

“Will the representative of Pakistan deny that its armed forces have used air strikes and artillery against its own people repeatedly. Will the representative of Pakistan explain why is it that Pakistan’s civil society is being silenced by the plethora of heavily armed militias that go by names such as ‘Jaish’ or Army, ‘Lashkar’ or Army, ‘Sipah’ or Soldiers and ‘Harkat’ or Armed movement,” Gambhir said.

Responding to Swaraj’s call that nations who do not join the global strategy to fight terrorism should be isolated, Lodhi said India’s government is “delusional” if it believes that it can “isolate” any country.

“It is India itself, which because of its war crimes in Kashmir and elsewhere, and because of its warmongering, is likely to be isolated in the international community,” she said.

The Pakistani envoy said Swaraj’s statement reflects the “deceit and hostility” of the Indian government towards Pakistan.

“These allegations are designed principally to deflect global attention from the brutalities being perpetrated by India’s over half a million occupation force against innocent and unarmed Kashmiri children, women and men in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” Lodhi said.

In an RoR exercised after Sharif’s address to the UNGA, India had accused Pakistan of committing war crimes by using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

Lodhi in her RoR said the call for freedom of the Kashmiri people has been met with Indian brutality.

“This is the worst form of state terrorism, a war crime, that India has continued to perpetrate in the situation of foreign occupation in Jammu and Kashmir for the past many decades,” she said, adding that Pakistan demands a full and impartial investigation of the Indian ‘atrocities and massive human rights violations’ in Kashmir.

“We ask that India accept the investigation proposed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and allow them access for the purpose,” she said.

In response to Swaraj’s reference to Pakistani national Bahadur Ali who was arrested in Kashmir, Lodhi said the recently captured “Indian spy, an intelligence officer,” Kulbhushan Yadav, has “confessed” to India’s support to such terrorist and subversive activities particularly in Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

“Indeed, it was Kulbhushan, who was financing, arming and supporting individuals and entities listed under the UN sanctions regime,” Lodhi said.

She said India’s “policy of interference” in Pakistan, especially its attempt to destabilise Balochistan, are now on record.

“This is blatant violation of the principles of the UN Charter,” she said.

Lodhi blamed India for suspending talks with Pakistan more than a year ago, saying New Delhi has refused to resume them despite repeated offers from Pakistan and advice from the international community.

“The latest offer was made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from the rostrum of this very Assembly. But let us be clear, talks are no favour to Pakistan. They are in the interest of both India and Pakistan and the people of our two countries,” she said.

Lodhi reiterated that Pakistan is “ready and willing” for serious and result oriented talks with India, especially to resolve the longstanding core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, which is imperative for durable peace, stability and development in the region.

In a second RoR, a Pakistani representative reiterated that Kashmir remains an internationally-recognised disputed territory.

Gambhir responded by saying that Pakistan has yet again “chosen to stay silent” on the tough questions.

“This is what we have come to expect from Pakistan – deception, deceit and denial. The world still waits their response,” Gambhir said.

(With PTI inputs)

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