“Pakistan has shrunk the size of its minority community from 23% in 1947 to 3% today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions.” A special report by Asian Lite Newsdesk
Pakistan has accused India of “denuding” secularism as it exercised its right to reply to India’s reaction to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s use of hate speech and war threat, avoiding questions about Islamabad’s terror links.
Muhammad Zulqarnain, a Second Secretary in Pakistan’s UN Mission, failed to respond directly to questions India had asked of Islamabad in the right of reply to Khan’s incendiary speech on Friday in the UN General Assembly.
Vidisha Maitra, a First Secretary in India’s UN Mission, had pointed out that “Khan’s threat of unleashing nuclear devastation qualifies as brinkmanship, not statesmanship”.
While he talked of “cow vigilantism” and the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zulqarnain did not respond to the challenges from Maitra asking Pakistan to reply to Khan’s open defence of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda chief found in a Pakistan garrison town, the 130 UN-designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities in that country, closure of its Habib Bank in New York after being financed millions for terrorism funding and Islamabad being put on notice by the international anti-terrorism financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force.
Zulkqarnain quoted what the Non-Aligned Movement had said in the context of Palestine equating state repression with terrorism in Pakistan’s attempts to draw a parallel between that and Kashmir.
Maitra challenged the human rights and minority protection credentials of Pakistan. “Having mainstreamed terrorism and hate speech, Pakistan is trying to play its wild card as the newfound champion of human rights,” she said in her reply. “This a country that has shrunk the size of its minority community from 23% in 1947 to 3% today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions.”
Maitra also reminded the world community about the atrocities Pakistan committed in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
“Pogroms, Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, are not a phenomenon of today’s vibrant democracies,” Maitra added. “We would request you to refresh your rather sketchy understanding of history. Do not forget the gruesome genocide perpetrated by Pakistan against its own people in 1971 and the role played by Lt. Gen A A K Niazi. A sordid fact that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh reminded this Assembly.”
Maitra also challenged the Pakistan prime minister’s diatribe against Indian and the international community in her reply.
Maitra said: “Every word spoken from the podium of this august Assembly, it is believed, carries the weight of history. Unfortunately, what we heard today from Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan was a callous portrayal of the world in binary terms. Us vs Them; Rich vs Poor; North vs South; Developed Vs Developing; Muslims vs Others. A script that fosters divisiveness at the United Nations. Attempts to sharpen differences and stir up hatred, are simply put – “hate speech”.
“Rarely has the General Assembly witnessed such misuse, rather abuse, of an opportunity to reflect. Words matter in diplomacy. Invocation of phrases such as “pogrom”, “bloodbath”, “racial superiority”, “pick up the gun” and “fight to the end” reflect a medieval mindset and not a 21st century vision. 4. Prime Minister Khan’s threat of unleashing nuclear devastation qualifies as brinksmanship, not statesmanship.
“Even coming from the leader of a country that has monopolized the entire value chain of the industry of terrorism, Prime Minister Khan’s justification of terrorism was brazen and incendiary.
“For someone who was once a cricketer and believed in the gentleman’s game, today’s speech bordered on crudeness of the variety that is reminiscent of the guns of Darra Adam Khel. Now that Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited UN Observers to Pakistan to verify that there are no militant organisations in Pakistan, the world will hold him to that promise.”
“Citizens of India do not need anyone else to speak on their behalf, least of all those who have built an industry of terrorism from the ideology of hate,” Maitra said. “Pakistan’s virulent reaction to the removal of an outdated and temporary provision that was hindering development and integration of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir stems from the fact that those who thrive on conflict never welcome the ray of peace. While Pakistan has ventured to upstream terrorism and downstream hate speech there, India is going ahead with mainstreaming development in Jammu and Kashmir. The mainstreaming of Jammu & Kashmir, as well as Ladakh, in India’s thriving and vibrant democracy with a millennia-old heritage of diversity, pluralism and tolerance is well and truly underway. Irreversibly so.”
Maitra also raised some uncomfortable questions for the Pakistani leadership to answer:
- Can Pakistan confirm the fact that it is home to 130 UN designated terrorists and 25 terrorist entities listed by the UN, as of today?
- Will Pakistan acknowledge that it is the only Government in the world that provides pension to an individual listed by the UN in the Al Qaeda and Da’esh Sanctions list!
- Can Pakistan explain why here in New York, its premier bank, the Habib Bank had to shut shop after it was fined millions of dollars over terror financing?
- Will Pakistan deny that the Financial Action Task Force has put the country on notice for its violations of more than 20 of the 27 key parameters?
- And would Prime Minister Khan deny to the city of New York that he was an open defender of Osama bin Laden?