United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a dig at Pakistan over "using terrorism as a political tool" during his address to the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
"The danger of regressive thinking and extremism is rising in the world," PM Modi said at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which was held online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Those who use terrorism as a political tool have to understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them," PM Modi said. "It is, therefore, essential to ensure that Afghanistan's territory is not used to spread terrorism," he added. "We also need to ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests."
The remarks came a day after India gave a strong response to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who brought up the Kashmir issue at the UNGA.
PAK THE ARSONIST
Pakistan, where terrorists enjoy free passage, is an "arsonist" who is masquerading as a "fire-fighter", and the entire world has suffered as it nurtures dreaded terrorists like Osama bin Laden in its backyard, India said in a blistering retort after Prime Minister Imran Khan raked up the issue of Kashmir in his address to the UN General Assembly.
"We exercise our Right of Reply to one more attempt by the leader of Pakistan to tarnish the image of this august forum by bringing in matters internal to my country and going so far as to spew falsehoods on the world stage," First Secretary Sneha Dubey said in the UN General Assembly on Friday.
"While such statements deserve our collective contempt and sympathy and reveal the mindset of a person who utters falsehood repeatedly, I am taking the floor to set the record straight," the young Indian diplomat said.
Imran Khan, in his 25-minute address, had spoken about the August 5, 2019, decision of the Indian government on the abrogation of Article 370 as well as the death of pro-Pakistan separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
In the Right of Reply, Dubey said that this is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has "misused" platforms provided by the UN to "propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world's attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down."
With the international community marking this month the solemn occasion of the 20th anniversary of the "dastardly" 9/11 terror attacks, Dubey said the world has not forgotten that the "mastermind behind that dastardly event, Osama bin Laden, got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorify him as a 'martyr'." "Regrettably, even today we heard the leader of Pakistan trying to justify acts of terror. Such defence of terrorism is unacceptable in the modern world," the Indian diplomat said.
Categorically emphasising India's position, Dubey said New Delhi desires normal relations "with all our neighbours, including Pakistan." However, it is for Islamabad to work sincerely towards creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross border terrorism against India in any manner.
"But Pakistan also holds the despicable record in our region of having executed a religious and cultural genocide against the people of what is now Bangladesh. As we mark the 50th anniversary this year of that horrid event in history, there is not even an acknowledgment, much less accountability," she said.
Highlighting that minorities in Pakistan - the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians - live in constant fear and there is state sponsored suppression of their rights, she said, "this is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalised by its leadership and even justified.
"Dissenting voices are muzzled daily and enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings are well documented," Dubey said.
Dubey said that unlike Pakistan, India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold highest offices in the country including as President, Prime Minister, Chief Justices and Chiefs of Army Staff. India is also a country with a free media and an independent judiciary that keeps a watch and protects our Constitution.
"Pluralism is a concept which is very difficult to understand for Pakistan which constitutionally prohibits its minorities from aspiring for high offices of the State. The least they could do is introspect before exposing themselves to ridicule on the world stage," the Indian diplomat said.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)