"The worst violation of human rights is terrorism. When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime," a junior Indian diplomat tasked with exercising India's right of reply to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's speech, in which he had raised the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, said.
First Secretary Eenam Gambhir's response to what she described as Pakistan's "long tirade" about the situation in J and K, expressed earlier in a speech by the country's prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was short, furious, and unprecedented in its intensity and descriptions. It also indicated a new Indian resolve to push for having Pakistan recognized as a nuclear proliferating terrorist state based on its record and substantial evidence of its nurturing of terror groups. Reminding the U.N of how so many terrorist attacks, including that on 9/11 in US, led to Pakistan, she said, "The land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism." There was a specific reference to the hunt for Osama bin Laden leading to Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was found and killed next to a Pakistan military garrison.
Several other terrorists including Mullah Omar, Ramzi Yousef, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, not to speak of numerous foot soldiers, including last week's New York bomber, have found refuge and inspiration in Pakistan.
"It attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world. The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe," Gambhir explained in this context, as India for the first time brought to the world's attention the fallout of Pakistan's nurturing of terrorist groups that the UN itself has recorded and proscribed.
"It is ironical therefore that we have seen today the preaching of human rights and ostensible support for self-determination by a country which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism," she added in a reference to Sharif's remarks on Jammu and Kashmir. More humiliation followed as Gambhir also accused Pakistan of diverting international aid for terrorism, raising the possibility that New Delhi will now begin a campaign to cut off assistance on which Islamabad subsists. Hillary Clinton, among others, have acknowledged that aid money is fungible, and a further US squeeze on assistance, notwithstanding the small amounts China and the Gulf monarchs toss at Pakistan, could be disastrous. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde is expected to go to Pakistan shortly in what will be the first visit by a top executive in a decade even as Pakistan's economy spirals down, both its exports and remittances shrinking."What we see in Pakistan, Mr. President, is a terrorist state, which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbors," the Indian Rep told the UN, many of whose members give aid that enables Pakistan to survive.
"Terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam its streets freely and operate with State support. With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organizations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan's international obligations," Gambhir reminded them in a reference to Hafiz Saeed, a terrorist with bounty money on him.
India also took aim at the internal tensions in Pakistan, calling it a "country with a democracy deficit.""In fact it practices terrorism on its own people. It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws," Gambhir told UN delegates, in what may just a warm-up to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech expected later in the week.
In one short sentence, the Indian representative addressed any concern at the UN over the Kashmir issue - including from many OIC and Arab monarchies and dictatorships that profess support to Pakistan, but are also victims of terrorism: "As a democracy India is firmly resolved to protect all our citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail."She also reminded them that India's (and Pakistan's) neighbors (which include Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Iran) suffer the effects of Pakistan's state-sponsored terrorism, even as its consequence had spread well beyond the region.
Terrorists inspired, facilitated, and trained in Pakistan have struck throughout the world, including in New York, London, San Bernardino, and Brussels, among other cities.The Indian representative also ridiculed Sharif's talk of nuclear restraint and peace, reminding the UN that Pakistan's "nuclear proliferation record is marked by deception and deceit."
"Similar false promises it has made to us - the international community - on terrorism. Perhaps renunciation of lies and self-restraint on threats could be a good place for Pakistan to start," Gambhir concluded scornfully.
It was the strongest Indian riposte to periodic tiffs with Pakistan that this correspondent has seen in 22 years, including during the Kargil war. The description of Pakistan as a terrorist state, coming on the heels of two American lawmakers proposing legislation in the US Congress aimed at formally designating Pakistan as such, is unprecedented, as is the proposition that state sponsorship of terrorism is tantamount to a war crime.
Many historians believe Pakistan actually got away with war crimes and genocide, when it killed millions of Bengali Muslims from the erstwhile East Pakistan after they decided to part ways to form Bangladesh in 1970/1971.
In developments reminiscent of that, separatist Baloch demonstrators were protesting against Pakistan outside the UN as Islamabad and New Delhi clashed inside.