UNITED NATIONS: Days after India cancelled foreign-minister talks with Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched a frontal attack on Pakistan’s duplicity on terrorism and accused the neighbouring country of harbouring 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and glorifying terrorists.
Speaking at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the minister highlighted Pakistan’s doublespeak on terrorism before the international community and made it clear that in an atmosphere of continuing cross-border terror, no talks can take place.
“It’s unfortunate that terror continues to emanate from across the border. The mastermind of 9/11 terror attack in New York was found in Pakistan and killed by the US, but 26/11 Mumbai terror mastermind (Hafiz Saeed) continues to roam free in Pakistan,” said Swaraj at the ongoing session of the UNGA in New York on September 29. The 26/11 mastermind contests elections and makes threatening speeches, but no action is taken, said Mrs Swaraj.
“In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border. Our neighbour’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” she said. “The world has come to know the true face of Pakistan,” she said.
“We are ready for talks with Pakistan. The most complex and difficult issues can be solved with dialogue,” she said.
“But how can talks happen in such an atmosphere and should talks happen in such an atmosphere,” she asked the world community while alluding to the brutal kidnapping and killing of three Indian soldiers by Pakistani forces. Indian soldiers were slaughtered shortly after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New York.
“We are accused of sabotaging the process of talks. This is a complete lie. We believe that talks are only rational means to resolve the most complex of disputes. Talks with Pakistan have begun many times. If they stopped, it was only because of their behaviour,” she said.
“Who can be a greater transgressor of human rights than a terrorist? Those who take innocent human lives in pursuit of war by other means are defenders of inhuman behavior, not of human rights. Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents.”
Mrs Swaraj called for fast-tracking the adoption of the long-dragging Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) and appealed to the international community to forge a consensus on the definition of terrorism.
“In 1996, India proposed a draft document on CCIT at the United Nations. Till today, that draft has remained a draft, because we cannot agree on a common language. On the one hand, we want to fight terrorism; on the other, we cannot define it,” she said.
The minister also called for expediting the UN reforms and expansion of the United Nations Security Council and underlined that the failure to reform will diminish the effectiveness and credibility of UNSC.
“The United Nations must accept that it needs fundamental reform. Reform cannot be cosmetic. We need change the institution’s head and heart to make both compatible to contemporary reality. Reform must begin today; tomorrow could be too late,” she said.
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