NEW YORK, 24 Sep (TNS): In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session on Saturday, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took a dig at Pakistan by asking its leaders to introspect as to why India is recognised as a global IT superpower while Pakistan is infamous as the “pre-eminent export factory for terror”.
Swaraj accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.
She was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister ShahidKhaqanAbbasi’s speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of violating human rights and state-sponsored terrorism.
“I would like today to tell Pakistan’s politicians just this much, that perhaps the wisest thing they could do is to look within. India and Pakistan became free within hours of each other. Why is it that today India is a recognised IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?” Swaraj asked.
Speaking in Hindi for the second consecutive year at the annual UNGA session, Swaraj said India has risen despite being the principal destination of “Pakistan’s nefarious export of terrorism.”
“There have been many governments under many parties during 70 years of Indian freedom, for we have been a sustained democracy. Every government has done its bit for India’s development,” she said, highlighting India’s achievements in the fields of education, health, space etc.
“We established scientific and technical institutions which are the pride of the world. But what has Pakistan offered to the world and indeed to its own people apart from terrorism?” she said.
“We produced scientists, scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists…You have created terrorist camps, you have created Lashkar-e- Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, HizbulMujahideen and Haqqani network,” she said, adding that if Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today.
She said the terrorist groups created by Pakistan is not only harming India, but also hurting its neighbours – Afghanistan and Bangladesh – as well.
She said that for the first time in the UN history, Pakistan sought right to reply (RoR) and then it had to simultaneously respond to three nations.
“Doesn’t it reflect your nefarious designs,” she asked the Pakistani leader.
Referring to Prime Minister Abbasi’s speech, Swaraj said that the Pakistani leader “wasted” too much of his time in making accusations against India.
“Those listening had only one observation: ‘Look who’s talking!’ A country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium,” Swaraj said.
Commenting on Abbasi’s claim that Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah had bequeathed a foreign policy based on peace and friendship, Swaraj said while it remains open to question whether Jinnah actually advocated such principles, what is beyond doubt is that Prime Minister NarendraModi has offered the hand of peace and friendship since he assumed office.
“Pakistan’s Prime Minister must answer why his nation spurned this offer,” she said.
On old UN resolutions mentioned by Abbasi, Swaraj said that the Pakistani leader’s memory has conveniently failed him where it matters.
“He has forgotten that under the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration India and Pakistan resolved that they would settle all outstanding issues bilaterally. The reality is that Pakistan’s politicians remember everything, manipulate memory into a convenience. They are masters at ‘forgetting’ facts that destroy their version,” Swaraj said in a hard-hitting response to Pakistani prime minister’s speech.
Noting that Abbasi spoke of a “Comprehensive Dialogue” between the two countries, Swaraj reminded him that on December 9, 2015, when she was in Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference, a decision was made by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that dialogue between India and Pakistan should be renewed and named it a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue”.
“The word ‘bilateral’ was used consciously to remove any confusion or doubt about the fact that the proposed talks would be between our two nations and only between our two nations, without any third-party present. And he must answer why that proposal withered, because Pakistan is responsible for aborting that peace process,” Swaraj said
Describing terrorism as an “existentialist danger” to mankind, India today wondered how the international community will fight the menace if the UN Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists.
SushmaSwaraj said terrorism is at the very top of problems for which the United Nations is searching for solutions.
“If we cannot agree to define our enemy, how can we fight together? If we continue to differentiate between good terrorists and bad terrorists, how can we fight together? If even the United Nations Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, how can we fight together?” she said.
Swaraj was apparently referring to China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, which has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. The JeM has already been in the banned list.
“I would like to request this august assembly to stop seeing this evil with self-defeating and indeed meaningless nuance. Evil is evil. Let us accept that terrorism is an existentialist danger to humankind. There is absolutely no justification for this barbaric violence,” she said.
Swaraj called on the UN member states to display their new commitment by reaching agreement on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism this year itself.
Although India proposed a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) as early as in 1996, yet two decades later the United Nations has not been able to agree upon a definition of terrorism, she rued.
“We have been the oldest victims of this terrible and even traumatic terrorism. When we began articulating about this menace, many of the world’s big powers dismissed this as a law and order issue. Now they know better. The question is: what do we do about it?” she asked.
“We must all introspect and ask ourselves whether our talk is anywhere close to the action we take. We all condemn this evil, and piously resolve to fight it in all our declaratory statements. The truth is that these have become rituals,” she said.
“The fact is that when we are required to fight and destroy this enemy, the self-interest of some leads them towards duplicity,” Swaraj said.
Touching other issues, Swaraj called for an early start to text-based negotiations for UN Security Council reforms, expressing hope that it will be a “priority” for the world body.
She said the challenge posed by climate change requires more “serious action than talk” and asked the leaders of the developed world to help the less fortunate ones through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing.
Swaraj warned the international community that there is a growing question mark over maritime security and that nuclear proliferation is again making dangerous headlines.
She ended by reciting the verse: “May all be happy; May all be healthy; May all see what is good; May all be free from suffering.”