Lambasting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “glorification” of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in his speech to the UN General Assembly, India said hailing a “self-advertised” terrorist at the forum is “self- incrimination” by the Pakistani leader.
Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said it is “shocking” that a leader of a nation can “glorify a self- declared self-advertised terrorist” at a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly.
“We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Burhan Wani was a self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, this organisation is widely acknowledged internationally as a terrorist group,” Akbar said at a briefing to Indian reporters here responding to Sharif’s General Debate address at the UN yesterday.
“This is self-incrimination by the Pakistan Prime Minister. We just heard a speech full of threat, bluster and what can only be described as rising immaturity and complete disregard of facts,” Akbar said.
In his nearly 20-minute speech, almost half of which was focussed on Kashmir, Sharif hailed Wani as the “symbol” of the Kashmiris’ freedom movement.
He said a “new generation” of Kashmiris has risen spontaneously against India’s “illegal occupation – demanding freedom from occupation”.
The Pakistan Prime Minister referred to Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, as a “young leader” and said he has “emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement…”
India also strongly rejected Sharif’s call for “a serious and sustained” dialogue “without any conditions”, with Akbar saying that Islamabad is talking about dialogue with a “gun in its hand”.
“Pakistan at this moment seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government. Pakistan wants dialogue while holding a terrorist gun in its hand.
“Talks and guns don’t go together. Our position on a dialogue has been consistent. We have always been ready for a dialogue but we will not succumb to the blackmail tactics of the government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorists and terrorism as policy,” Akbar said.
Sharif had said that Islamabad is open to discuss “all measures of restraint and responsibility” with India, in “any forum or format and without any conditions” but blamed India for posing “unacceptable preconditions” to engage in a dialogue.
He said Pakistan was also ready for talks to agree on a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty.
In a strong rejection of Sharif’s assertion that violations of human rights are being committed by Indian forces in ‘occupied’ Jammu and Kashmir, Akbar said “the only occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a part of India, is the occupation of a part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan occupation army”.
He added the world also knows that Pakistan has indulged in ethnic cleansing of its own people.
“Pakistan’s consistent use of war and terrorism has been at the cost of development of the people of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are paying the price of a malevolent policy,” he said.
On Sharif’s remark that he has gone the ‘extra mile’ for peace with India, Akbar said “we have not seen the first mile. Where is the question of the extra mile?”
Akbar said none of the world leaders speaking at the UN General Assembly has “referred” to Kashmir despite massive efforts by Sharif to raise the bilateral dispute with India in all his meetings with global leaders on the margins of the General Assembly.
He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attitude and policy towards Pakistan has been “consistent” from day one.
“In the very first invitation that was extended to the SAARC leaders, it was made clear that India was always ready for a dialogue with anyone but not if there was any use of terrorism.
“Even in the first weeks, the dialogue process was disrupted. You can see in our relationship with other countries the dialogue process has taken amity and friendship far,” he said.
On protests by Baloch activists outside the UN, Akbar said Balochistan people have reasons for protests against the policy and a “very long history” of serious violence against its people.
“It’s a violence that has included a use of air force, massive armed forces against them,” he said.
Sharif spent the majority of his speech on Kashmir, saying peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position,” he said.
Sharif also demanded an independent inquiry into the “extra-judicial killings” and a UN fact finding mission to investigate alleged brutalities perpetrated by the Indian forces, “so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished”.
He said the Security Council has called for the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite held under UN auspices.
The Pakistani leader sought steps to be taken by the United Nations to “de-militarise” Jammu and Kashmir and undertake consultations with India, Pakistan and the “true representatives” of the Kashmiri people to implement the resolutions of the Security Council.
Welcoming the offer of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s good offices on the resolution of the dispute, Sharif said Islamabad will also open consultations with members of the Security Council to explore the modalities for implementation of the Council’s resolutions on Kashmir.