No talks with a country that glorifies “killers”: Swaraj to world leaders
BY: Yoshita Singh
United Nations: Pakistan’s commitment to terrorism as an instrument of state policy has not abated one bit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told world leaders at the UN on Saturday and asked them how India can pursue talks with a nation that “glorifies killers” and allows the Mumbai attack mastermind to “roam free” with impunity.
In a hard-hitting retort to Pakistan, Swaraj said India has made many efforts to hold talks with Islamabad and the only reason New Delhi has called off dialogue is because of Pakistan’s behaviour.
“We are accused of sabotaging the process of talks. This is a complete lie. We believe that talks are the only rational means to resolve the most complex of disputes,” she said in her address to the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly here.
“Talks with Pakistan have begun many times. If they stopped, it was only because of Pakistan’s behaviour,” she said.
The minister told the world body that after assuming power, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting a meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers on the margins of the General Assembly. India accepted the proposal but, within hours of its acceptance, news came that terrorists had killed three Indian jawans, she said.
“Does this indicate a desire for dialogue,” Swaraj asked.
She noted that various governments in India over the years have tried the peace option with Pakistan.
Prime Minister Modi, by inviting the Heads of the SAARC nations to his swearing in ceremony in 2014, had begun his attempt for dialogue on his very first day in office. Swaraj said she too had in December 2016, personally gone to Islamabad and offered a comprehensive bilateral dialogue.
“But soon after, Pakistan-sponsored terrorists attacked our air force base in Pathankot on January 2. Please explain to me how we could pursue talks in the midst of terrorist bloodshed,” she asked.
The demon of terrorism now stalks the world, at a faster pace somewhere, a slower pace elsewhere, but life-threatening everywhere, Swaraj said.
“In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border to the west. 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.
Even as the killers of the 9/11 terror atacks in New York met their fate, Swaraj said the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed “still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity.”
Swaraj, in her speech delivered in Hindi, told the world leaders that the most startling evidence of Pakistan’s duplicity was the fact that Osama bin Laden, the architect and ideologue of 9/11 was given safe haven in the country and even after the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed by American special forces, “Pakistan continued to behave as if nothing had happened.”
“America had declared Osama bin Laden it’s most dangerous enemy, and launched an exhaustive, worldwide search to bring him to justice. What America perhaps could not comprehend was that Osama would get sanctuary in a country that claimed to be America’s friend and ally: Pakistan,” she said.
She also pointed out that Pakistan’s “commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy.”
“What is heartening is that the world is no longer ready to believe Islamabad,” she said citing that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Pakistan on notice over terror funding.
Swaraj also slammed Pakistan for time and again accusing India of human rights violations, saying “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 behaviour, not of human rights. Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents,” she said.
Swaraj said it has become something of a habit with Pakistan to “throw the dust of deceit and deception against India in order to provide some thin cover for its own guilt.”
She recalled that the United Nations had seen Pakistan’s use of deceit and deception last year when its representative, using her right to reply, displayed some photographs as “proof” of “human rights violations” by India. In a major goof-up and embarrassment for Pakistan on the global stage, the photographs turned out to be from another country, the minister noted.
“Similar false accusations have become a part of its standard rhetoric,” Swaraj said.