OPINION

INDO-PAK FOREIGN MINISTERS AT THE 73RD SESSION OF UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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By: Mushtaq Hurra

Every year, world leaders assemble at New York and make speeches in the UN general assembly to highlight the issues and problems their respective countries are confronted with. Apart from national issues, different world leaders including those who have been monopolizing United Nations organization, pledge to resolve the different issues of international importance viz challenges ahead of world Peace, hurdles in economic prosperity, eradication of poverty and hunger, end of sexploitation of women, eradication of terrorism etc from the planet.

Like every year, the member countries of UNO took part in the recently concluded annual session of UN general assembly. The session began on the 18th of the last month and lasted for nine consecutive working days. The session was adorned by the presence of political stalwarts like American president Donald Trump, French president Emmanuel Macron, Turkish president RecepTayyip Erdogan and other heavyweights. Last weekend of September 2018 witnessed an extraordinary rush of media men in New York despite a public holiday in America because Indo-Pak foreign ministers were scheduled to address the UN general assembly on this very day. There was a lot of hustle and bustle in the city since the wee hours of the day because Sikhs and Kashmiris living in US made strong use of sloganeering against India.

UN general assembly is the platform where leaders can give vent to their emotions in the best possible way. World leaders make their say and express their opinions regarding different crisis the world is facing. But UNO has become an organization which runs the most number of paper horses. The organization is under the hegemony of big five viz security council member countries.

Besides many other foreign ministers of different countries, Indo-Pak foreign ministers recorded their speeches in the assembly on  29th of the last month.Both the foreign ministers began their speeches with their national narratives though Swashma Swaraj of India had a lot to boast for given the fact that her government is about to complete its term of five years while as Shah Mehmood Quraishi of Pakistan vowed to register a new chapter of good governance in his country as Imran Khan led regime has taken the reigns of the country very recently.

Calm and composed, Swashma Swaraj began her speech in typical Indian style with folded hands. She was looking quite confident and her body language was very positive.Her eye contact with the audience complimented her speech while as Shah Mehmood Quraishi was often seen concentrating on his draft though his presentation was not less powerful than his Indian counterpart. Both the leaders accused each other of terrorism and patronizing terror activities but at the end, their resolve to conserve environment, patronize international trade, development of world economy etc was almost same.

The session was presided over by Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador, and Swashma Swaraj took the liberty to tell the assembly that the first lady to preside over a session of UN general assembly was an Indian woman, Vijay Lakshmi Pandith.Then, Ms Swaraj extended her sympathies with Indonesian people who had been hit by a dreaded cyclone very recently but Shah MehmoodQuraishi was confined to his draft.Ms Swaraj apprised the delegates Present in the assembly that Modi led government is taking stringent measures to check the flow of black money in the country, and almost, over 30 crore Indians have opened bank accounts for transparent transactions.

Indian foreign minister told the house that her government is all set construct 2crore 10 lakh houses till 2030 for houseless citizens of the country, and it has already provided dwellings to over fifty lakh families. She told the assembly that Indian government is about to start a family insurance scheme in the country to cover at least fifty Crore families. While referring to the growing unemployment in the country, Ms Swaraj stated that her government is switching to skill development programs so that every person can earn in a respectable way.

MS Swaraj made repeated attacks on Pakistan for funding terrorism. She stated that 9/11 and 26/11 attacks have shaken the world and raised down the aspirations of Americans and Indians to ground. She said that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism to jeopardize peace in the region. She accused Pakistan of providing shelter and refuge to international terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. She said that when the whole world including was searching for Osama Bin laden, it was Pakistan,  which gave him a safe place in her territories.

She vowed to resolve all the disputes with Pakistan on table when Shah Mehmood Quraishi accused India of sabotaging parleys and talks. She said that India is always ready to promote peace in the region but blamed Pakistan for being reluctant and obstinate. She refuted the allegations and accusations of Mr. Quraishi who castigated India for carrying out the genocide of innocent Kashmiris. She blamed Pakistan for issuing postal tickets in the name of Burhan wani, a Kashmiri rebel whose killing had resulted in a mass uprising in Indian administered Kashmir in 2016.She denied  her country’s any role regarding terror activities on  Pakistan soil.

Like his Indian counterpart, Mr. Shah Mehmood Quraishi congratulated Pakistan masses for their new political insight. Mr. Quraishi stated that Pak people have voted Pakistan TeheekiInsaf for a change in the country as well as in the region.On his national narrative, Mr. Quraishi re-affirmed his country’s stand not to make any compromise with the sovereignty of the country. While counting his government’s achievements, Mr. Quraishi stated that his regime is all set to connect Central Asia with Europe through the ‘ belt and road ‘ (BRI) initiative under CPEC.He told the world that to check environmental degradation, his government is planning to plant ten billion trees in the country. He castigated the world for adopting silence over the blasphemous sketches of Prophet Mohammad Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam, and said that such Communal attempts have hurt crores of Muslims across the globe including Pak Muslims.

Mr. Quraishi castigated India for a war behind the curtain against his country.He said that the genocide of innocents in a Peshawar school is still wrenching their hearts. Referring to Kulbooshan Yadav who was arrested in Pakistan for carrying out terror activities in the country, Mr. Quraishi stated that it is enough to tell the world that India is behind the terrorism in Pakistan.Hecriticised India for destabilizing public regimes in Pakistan.While referring to an accusation for funding terrorism in Kashmir, Mr. Quraishi said that pellets and bullets have registered a new chapter of human rights violation in Indian Indian administered Kashmir.

Her further stated that India is carrying out the mass murder of kashmiris, in the garb of eliminating terrorism in the area.He lambasted Modi led government, for refusing talks with Pakistan, at the sidelines of the session in New York, America.Mr. Quraishi stated that the recent report of UN commission for human rights has unveiled India’s barbaric face, and has endorsed Pakistan’s stand.He welcomed any possible parleys with India, and said that mutual understanding and good will is the only way out for the two nuclear gaints of South East Asia to proper.

Besides many difference, the two leaders appreciated UNO’s role and relevance to make the planet, a better place to live in.Both of them agreed to check environmental degradation which is posing a threat to life on Earth.

The writer is a teacher and can be reached at [email protected]

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