Pakistan's actions do not match words; peace possible in subcontinent when Islamabad ends terror: India
“The desire for peace, security and progress in the Indian subcontinent is real. It is also widely shared and it can be realized”, he said. “That will surely happen when cross-border terrorism ceases, when governments come clean with the international community and with their own people, when minorities are not persecuted, and not least when we recognize these realities before this Assembly”, the Indian diplomat said.
India has said that peace is possible in the subcontinent only when Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism, “comes clean” and ends persecution of minorities. Replying to Pakistan Prime Miniter Shehbaz Sharif’s attacks on India at the high-level General Assembly meeting on Friday, Indian diplomat Mijito Vinito disputed his claims about wanting peace with India, pointing out that his nation’s actions do not match his words.
He dwelt on Islamabad’s history of terrorism and said, “A polity that claims it seeks peace with its neighbours would never sponsor cross-border terrorism, nor would it shelter planners of the horrific Mumbai terrorist attack, disclosing their existence only under pressure from the international community”.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba who is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack in which about 175 people died, is living openly in Pakistan, as is another operative involved in the attack, Sajid Mir.
A country that truly seeks peace “would not make unjustified and untenable territorial claims against neighbours, it would not covet their lands and seek to illegally integrate them with its own”, Vinito said referring to Pakistan’s continued occupation of parts of Kashmir in violation of Security Council Resolution 47 of 1948, which ordered it to withdraw its troops and nationals from there.
Vinito, who is a first secretary in India’s UN mission, drove his stinging responses home with a calm demeanour. Exercising India’s right of reply, he countered Sharif’s claims about the treatment of minorities in India and held a mirror to Pakistan’s own record. For some years now, India has been countering Pakistani leaders' claims and accusations in the UN General Assembly special session through junior diplomats, with political leaders choosing to ignore them, and even avoiding mention of Pakistan or Kashmir in their addresses.
“It is not just about the neighbourhood that we have heard false claims today, it is about human rights, about minority rights and about basic decencies”, Vinito declared..
“When young women in the thousands from the minority community are abducted as an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), what can we conclude about the underlying mindset”, he asked. According to the Human Rights Council of Pakistan, Hindu and Christian girls are victims of kidnapping and forced marriages.
“The desire for peace, security and progress in the Indian subcontinent is real. It is also widely shared and it can be realized”, he said.
“That will surely happen when cross-border terrorism ceases, when governments come clean with the international community and with their own people, when minorities are not persecuted, and not least when we recognize these realities before this Assembly”, the Indian diplomat said.
In his speech at the Assembly, Sharif had claimed that he wanted peace and offered to speak to India’s leaders – but only after India gives in to his demands. He said he wanted to turn the page on the 20th century and take on the challenges of the 21st century but quickly went back 75 years raking up the Kashmir dispute, attacking the withdrawal of special constitutional status for that territory.
He catalogued what he said were India’s actions against the Muslim minority.
Saima Saleem, a counsellor in Pakistan’s UN mission, who responded to Vinito, repeated almost verbatim a lot from Sharif's speech. She directed many of her remarks against the RSS, the ideological fountainhead of India's ruling BJP, and also strung together isolated incidents and remarks by fringe characters to make them appear as state policy.
In a bid to stir up Muslims, she brought up the remarks made in a TV programme about Prophet Mohammed by a former BJP functionary but did not say that she is now facing criminal charges.