Pakistan at UN: A gaffe and a speech on Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: Pakistan’s permanent representative to UN, Dr Maleeha Lodhi has told the UN General Assembly that Kashmir continues to be a dispute and that India was using brutal force to suppress the people. She was exercising her right to reply to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech in which she accused Pakistan of being the main terror factory in the region.

 

Pakistan’s Permanant Representative at UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi showing photograph of a Gaza girl while talking about Kashmir pellet guns. Pic: @PakistanUN_NY

Ms Lodi termed Swaraj’s speech as “slanderous orgy against Pakistan”. She said India was being ruled by the people who assassinated Mahatama Gandhi.

While informing the assembly about the use of pellets in Kashmir, however, Dr Lodhi made a gaffe when she tried to pass off a photo of Gaza girl as that of a Kashmiri in a bid to highlight the Indian atrocities in Kashmir, according to Pakistan Today. The photo was clicked by Jerusalem-based American photographer Heidi Levine at a hospital in Gaza City, Palestine. The victim is 17-year-old Rawya abu Jom’a who was wounded when two Israeli air strikes hit her family’s apartment in 2014, the Wire reported.

Unlike Swaraj, however, Lodhi’s response was restricted to Kashmir and the accusations that Pakistan was a terror exporter.

Controversies part, the entire speech was focused on or around Kashmir. Here is the exact text of the speech delivered on September 23, 2017. It was sourced from the official Facebook page of the Pakistan Mission to the United Nation.

“I take the floor to exercise our right of reply to the statement in the General Debate earlier today, in which the Foreign Minister of India indulged in an orgy of slander against Pakistan.

Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs of India on
September 23, 2017. UN Photo by Manuel Elias

Her comments towards my country betray the hostility that the Indian leadership has towards Pakistan – hostility we have endured for 70 years.

Repeating falsehoods year after year does not and cannot conceal or alter the truth.

But in her vitriol she deliberately ignored the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

First, let us be clear: Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of India. It is recognized by the United Nations and the international community as “disputed” territory”. I invite all of you, and the Indian FM, to look at the UN maps.

Thus India’s military occupation of the State is illegal. The UN Security Council has, in over a dozen resolutions, decided that the dispute must be resolved by enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own destiny through a UN supervised plebiscite. India accepted these UN resolutions. But it has avoided implementing them through obfuscation, diversion, deceit and aggression.

India’s brutal occupation of Kashmir has killed over 100,000 innocent Kashmiris. Today, that campaign of brutality continues, including the shooting and blinding of innocent Kashmiri children with pellet guns. Yet, every day, these Kashmiri children, women and youth come out on the streets to demand that India get out of occupied Kashmir.

India cannot hide behind semantics. Any interstate dispute, like Kashmir, is by definition an “international” dispute. If the parties fail to resolve a dispute, the UN and the international community has not only the right but the obligation to intervene and help to resolve the dispute.

In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, that obligation is explicit; since the UN Security council has been involved with the dispute since its very inception; and because the Council has prescribed very specifically and precisely how the dispute should be resolved.

UN Security Council resolutions do not lapse with time. Or are “overtaken”, as the Indian foreign minister put it. Law has no expiry date. Morality has no sell-by date.

India’s posture is that of the predator. It cannot escape its legal and moral obligation to abide by the resolutions of the Security Council.

Any other interpretation will open the door to the logic of force in international relations.

India now also refuses a bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, either composite or comprehensive. The conditions it poses – that first there be an end of violence- begs the question. Violence emanates, first and foremost, from India’s occupation and brutal suppression of the Kashmiri people.

Under the circumstances, my Prime Minister has proposed that the Secretary General should appoint a Special Envoy- as several of his predecessors did- to promote the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Security Council resolutions.

At the same time, the UN should also take steps to investigate India’s ongoing and massive violations of human rights in Kashmir, end the impunity enjoyed by India’s security forces, lift the draconian emergency laws and punish those responsible for the war crimes and genocide in Kashmir.

Mr. President,

If the international community wishes to avoid a dangerous escalation between India and Pakistan, it must call on India to halt its provocations and aggressive actions. It must end the ceasefire violations along the LOC. It must halt its sponsorship of terrorist groups against Pakistan.

The Indian FM has spoken much about terrorism. The UN should actually define terrorism. In that definition, we should include “state terrorism”. The state terrorism which the Indian National Security Adviser has boasted is being sponsored by India’s spy agencies in Pakistan’s Balochistan province in what he called a “double squeeze” strategy.

Pakistan has in its custody an Indian spy, an intelligence officer, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, who confessed to India’s support to terrorist activities in Pakistan.

In fact, India has considerable experience in the state sponsorship of terrorism in our region. It has sponsored and perpetrated terrorism and aggression against all its neighbours; creating terrorist groups; destabilizing and blockading neighbours to do its strategic bidding and sponsoring subversion, sabotage and terrorism in various parts of Pakistan.

All this establishes that India is the “mother of terrorism” in South Asia.

Mr. President,

India’s proclivity to violence is also no secret. In the 70 years since its independence India has been engaged in at least over a dozen instances of the use of force and continues to face 17 insurgencies in its own land. It has fought a war with or in each of its neighbors.

Mr. President,

The Indian FM has sought to denigrate Pakistan’s founding father. All I can say about India’s current political luminaries is that they belong to a political organization that has the blood of thousands of Muslims of Gujarat on its hands.

Today, this so called “largest democracy” is the world’s largest “hypocrisy”.

It is ruled by a government in which a racist and fascist ideology is firmly embedded. The leadership of this Government emanates from the RSS, the same extremist group, which is accused of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi. It is a government which has appointed a fanatic as the Chief Minister of India’s largest state whose rallying cry to his mobs was: “If they kill one Hindu, we will kill 100 Muslims”. It is a government, which has allowed the lynching of Muslims. All this is amply documented.

Indeed as one of India’s most famous contemporary Indian authors recently said: “These horrific murders are only a symptom. Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations of Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and Christians are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault would come.” And then again “Much of what is in the air in India now is pure terror, in Kashmir, in other places.”

Mr President,

The Indian Foreign Minister spoke about human rights. Let me ask, who is using pellet guns that are blinding unarmed protestors – including children- in occupied Kashmir? Who is violating the fundamental rights not only of the brave people of Kashmir but hundreds of millions of Indians? And who is using rape as an instrument of policy to crush a popular movement in Kashmir?

In conclusion, Mr. President, let me say Pakistan remains open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Jammu and Kashmir and discuss measures to maintain peace and security. But this dialogue must be accompanied by an end to India’s campaign of subversion and state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.”

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