India turned the mirror on Pakistan after its Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered a speech at the UN dripping vitriol, and recalled its record of genocide in Bangladesh, being a haven for terrorists and suppression of minorities.
Indian UN Mission’s First Secretary Mijito Vinito said on Friday: “The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed. But, as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?”
During his pre-recorded speech shown at the General Assembly earlier in the day, Khan had repeated the same allegations about India as last year focused on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asserting they and the government were persecuting minorities.
He also raised the Kashmir issue, suggesting Security Council action there with a peacekeeping force.
Vinito, an Indian Foreign Service diplomat of the 2010 batch who had walked out during Khan’s speech, took him on exercising New Delhi’s right of reply.
He dismissed Khan’s claims to Kashmir saying: “Let me assert here loud and clear. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. The rules and legislations brought in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are strictly internal affairs of India.”
The only dispute, he said, was Islamabad’s illegal occupation of Kashmiri territory, which it must vacate, Vinito said.
He said that Khan’s speech was a “new low” and his words “demean the very essence of the UN”.
“For a nation that is deeply buried in medievalism, it is understandable that the tenets of a modern civilised society such as peace, dialogue and diplomacy are farfetched,” Vinito said.
He called Khan’s speech the “incessant rant of someone who had nothing to show for himself, who had no achievements to speak of, and no reasonable suggestion to offer to the world”.
“The only crowning glory that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism, and clandestine nuclear trade,” he added.
Vinito reminded Pakistan of what he sarcastically called its “stellar record.”
Referring to the massacre of over a million people by Pakistani troops and its allies in what was its province of East Pakistan in 1971 and is now Bangladesh, Vinito said: “This is the country that brought genocide to South Asia 39 years back when it killed its own people. 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.”
On Pakistan’s record in terrorism, Vinito recalled that Khan had hailed Al Qaeda’s head terrorist as a “martyr”.
Pakistan had harboured him for several years till US Special Forces took him out in Abbottabad.
Pakistan had the “dubious distinction of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN” and provides them pensions, Vinito said.
“The same leader who spewed venom today” had himself publicly admitted last year that Pakistan had 30,000 to 40,000 terrorists trained by it and they have fought in Afghanistan and in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Vinito said.
On Pakistan’s record on minorities, Vinito said: “This is the country that has systematically cleansed its minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of its blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions.”
While claiming to champion the rights of Muslims, Islamabad “has encouraged 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”, he said.
Pakistan exercised its right of reply to India’s reply.
Muhammad Zulqarnain Chheena, a First Secretary, like his Prime Minister aimed his attacks on the BJP and RSS.
He said the Shaheen Bagh riots in Delhi earlier this year exposed the Hindutva ideology.
Rather than calling it Islamic rule over parts of India and suppression of the Hindu majority, Chheena said the RSS-BJP were “changing India’s history to obliterate the thousand years of Muslim civilization and culture”.
He also referred to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who India says was kidnapped in Iran and taken to Pakistan, as someone who helped terrorists in his country.
The Indian delegate walked out in protest when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began attacking India in his speech at the high-level meeting.
First Secretary Mijito Vinito, who was sitting on the second seat in the first row of the Assembly chamber, stood up and left as soon as Khan turned on India by focusing on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
In a tweet, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T.S. Tirumurti decried Khan’s attacks as “warmongering and obfuscation”.
Khan’s pre-recorded speech was screened at the General Assembly chamber during the annual meeting stymied this year by the Covid-19 precautions.
A new element tucked into Khan’s 34-minute speech, more than a third of which was devoted to India, was a call for the Security Council to send its peacekeeping force to Kashmir by drawing a parallel to East Timor, now known as Timor-Leste.
Khan also declared a thinly veiled support for the attacks on India by the militants.
“The government and the people of Pakistan are committed to standing by and supporting the Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination,” he said.
To preemptively deny the involvement in any Pakistan-sponsored attacks on India, Khan said, “We have consistently sensitised the world community about a false flag operation.”
Khan alleged, “India is playing a dangerous game of upping the ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised environment.”
In his tweet, Tirumurti said, “PM of Pakistan’s statement a new diplomatic low at 75th UN General Assembly. Another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan’s persecution of its own minorities and of its cross-border terrorism. Befitting Right of Reply awaits.”
At the start of his speech with religious platitudes, Khan declared his commitment to an even more stringent theocratic state before accusing India of moving away from secularism.
“We envisage Naya Pakistan to be modelled on the principles of the state of Medina, established by the Holy Prophet Mohammed,” he declared.
Later, the premier of the Islamic republic, which constitutionally denies full citizenship rights to non-Muslims as well as Muslims of the Ahmadiyya sect, asserted that India is giving up on the secularism of Mahatma Gandhi and is moving towards a “Hindutva” state.
“The secularism of Gandhi and Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra,” he asserted.
Khan’s attacks on the RSS is to try to build up support for his cause, which has so far seen only Turkish support, by linking it to Nazism as his attacks on India have not found any backing.
Khan was silent on the persecution of the Uighur minority in China, Pakistan’s patron, and Beijing’s verified creation of camps for internment of the Muslim minority and campaign to eradicate their cultural and religious identity.
But he claimed that according to “reports”, there were camps in India filled with Muslims.
He also accused India of changing the demography of Kashmir and suppressing its cultural identity.
He invoked the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and said the Council should enforce them.
However, the main resolution on Kashmir — No. 47 — demands that Pakistan should withdraw its troops and personnel from Kashmir. (IANS)