At the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), India's first secretary Sneha Dubey responded to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks on Kashmir.
What Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan had said?
Khan had addressed the United Nations General Assembly virtually on Friday where he raked up the 5 August 2019 decision of the Indian government on the abrogation of Article 370 as well as the death of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The separatist leader's family had claimed that his body was taken and buried without their consent. Imran Khan appealed to the General Assembly to demand a proper burial for Syed Ali Geelani.
In his pre-recorded speech aired on Friday evening at the UNGA, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said, "New Delhi has embarked on what it ominously calls the final solution for the Jammu and Kashmir dispute."
This was in reference to the Indian government's decision to abrogate Article 370 in 2019. He went on to list what he called "gross and systematic violations of human rights" committed by Indian forces in Kashmir.
Asserting that Pakistan desires peace with India, Khan, however, said sustainable peace in South Asia is can happen only upon the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
"The onus remains on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented engagement with Pakistan," Khan's statement read. He said Pakistan desires peace but added that it is India's responsibility to meaningfully engage.
Reply from India
In the Right of Reply, Sneha Dubey, first secretary at UNGA said, “Regrettably, this is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has misused platforms provided by the UN to propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world's attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down.
"Member States are aware that Pakistan has an established history and policy of harboring, aiding, and actively supporting terrorists. This is a country that has been globally recognized as one openly supporting, training, financing, and arming terrorists as a matter of State policy. It holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN Security Council," added Dubey.
The young diplomat said that she was taking the stage to set the record straight. “We exercise our Right of Reply to one more attempt by the leader of Pakistan to tarnish the image of this august forum by bringing in matters internal to my country, and going so far as to spew falsehoods on the world stage.”
"While such statements deserve our collective contempt and sympathy for the mindset of the person who utters falsehood repeatedly, I am taking the floor to set the record straight."
Pakistan nurtures Terrorism in its backyard
"We keep hearing that Pakistan is a 'victim of terrorism. This is the country that is an arsonist disguising itself as a firefighter. Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbors.
Our region, and in fact the entire world, has suffered because of their policies. On the other hand, they are trying to cover up sectarian violence in their country as acts of terror," Ms. Dubey said.
Immediately vacate PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)
In the Right of Reply, Ms. Dubey strongly reiterated that “The entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.
This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation."
Internationalize Kashmir issue
Pakistan's attempts to internationalize the Kashmir issue have gained no traction from the international community and the Member States, who maintain that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between the two countries.
Ms. Dubey said, “It is regrettable that this is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has "misused" platforms provided by the UN to "propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world's attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities."
Pakistan accused of suppressing its minority communities
Highlighting that minorities in Pakistan - the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians - live in constant fear and state-sponsored suppression of their rights, the first secretary said, "this is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalized by its leadership and even justified.
"Dissenting voices are muzzled daily, and enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings are well documented."
Drawing a parallel between India and Pakistan, she said that India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold the highest offices in the country including as president, prime minister, chief justices, and chiefs of the army staff.
9/11 attacks & Osama Bin Laden
With the international community marking this month the solemn occasion of the 20th anniversary of the "dastardly" 9/11 terror attacks, Dubey said the world has not forgotten that the "mastermind behind that dastardly event, Osama Bin Laden, got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorifies him as a 'martyr'."
"Regrettably, even today we heard the leader of Pakistan trying to justify acts of terror. Such defense of terrorism is unacceptable in the modern world."
India wants Normal Relations
Categorically emphasizing India's position, Dubey said New Delhi desires normal relations "with all our neighbors, including Pakistan."
However, it is for Pakistan to work sincerely towards creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable, and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross-border terrorism against India in any manner.
"This is also the country that still holds the despicable record in our region of having executed a religious and cultural genocide against the people of what is now Bangladesh.
As we mark the 50th anniversary this year of that horrid event in history, there is not even an acknowledgment, much less accountability," the Indian diplomat said.
Ms. Dubey said that, unlike Pakistan, India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold the highest offices in the country including Presidents, Chief Ministers, Chief Justices, and Chiefs of Army Staff.
India is also a country with free media and an independent judiciary that keeps a watch and protects our Constitution.
"Pluralism is a concept which is very difficult to understand for Pakistan."