Run by ‘warmachine’, Pakistan glorifies self-declared terrorist: Akbar
By Arul Louis
India will not hold a dialogue with a Pakistan run by a “warmachine” that holds the gun of terrorism and glorifies terrorists, M.J. Akbar, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs said on Wednesday in a strong reaction to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s attacks on New Delhi while raising the Kashmir issue at the General Assembly.
Sharif hailed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani as the “latest symbol of the Kashmiri intifada (uprising), of a popular and peaceful freedom movement.” He described him “the young leader murdered by Indian forces”.
Speaking to reporters shortly after Sharif’s speech, Akbar said: “It was shocking that the leader of a nation can glorify a self-declared, self-advertised terrorist at such a forum. This is self incrimination by the Pakistan prime minister.”
Wani is a “self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen,” Akbar said. “This organisation is widely acknowledged as a terrorist group internationally.”
Sharif, who had invoked the Kashmir issue in his speech in 2014, stayed off the topic last year focusing on development. Since then, though, Pakistan has ramped up its Kashmir campaign, especially starting this year.
Sparing no punches, Akbar gave point-by-point rebuttal to Sharif’s assertions about India in his Assembly speech.
He dismissed Sharif’s oration as “a speech full of threat, bluster and I am afraid I can describe it only as rising immaturity and complete disregard of facts.”
“Confrontation should not be our destiny in South Asia, Pakistan wants peace with India,” Sharif said.
“I have gone the extra mile to achieve this, repeatedly offering a dialogue to address all outstanding issues. But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue.”
“We haven’t seen the first mile,” Akbar said. “Where is the question of the extra mile?”
Dismissing the possibility of talks for now, he said: “Pakistan wants a dialogue while it holds a gun in its hand, terrorists’ gun. Talks and guns don’t go together.”
Akbar said India’s position on talks has been consistent. “We have always been ready for a dialogue, but we will not succumb to blackmail tactics (from) the government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorists and terrorism.”
“This indigenous uprising of the Kashmiris has been met, as usual, with brutal repression by India’s occupation force of over half a million soldiers,” Sharif said.
“Over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed.”
Akbar’s rejoinder was: “The world also knows that Pakistan has indulged in ethnic cleansing of its own people. Pakistan’s consistent use of terrorism has been at the cost of development. People of Pakistan are paying the price of a malevolent government.”
“The people of Balochistan have faced serious violence, even the use of air force to attack them, Akbar added.
Continuing his intense lobbying efforts this week at the UN, Sharif in his speech called for international intervention in Kashmir saying: “The international community ignores the danger of rising tensions in South Asia, at its own peril.”
Asked by a reporter how India saw this campaign, Akbar said, “Very simple response. Hope you heard the others’ speeches (at the Assembly). Nobody has raised it.”
Nawaz also took a shot at another issue of importance to India, the reform of the Security Council. While he said that he supported a “comprehensive and democratic reform” of the Council, Islamabad was against “creating new centres of privilege — diplomatic language for opposing the creation of new permanent members.
On Wednesday, Sharif met Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“The Secretary-General stressed the need for Pakistan and India to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through dialogue in the interest of both countries and the region as a whole,” according to a brief statement by Ban’s spokesperson.
Pakistani media reports said that Sharif gave Ban a “dossier of Indian atrocities.” Sharif had said in his speech that he would give Ban the dossier.
A picture from the meeting released by the UN showed Sharif glum-faced and Ban smiling.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)