By Arul Louis
United Nations– In a sharp escalation of its attack, India slammed Pakistan at the UN for its support to terrorism, calling it “terroristan”.
“In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror,” Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, said on Thursday exercising India’s right of reply after Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi’s virulent attack that “the struggle” of the people in Kashmir was being “brutally suppressed by India”.
Gambhir, who stole the show last year when she verbally pummelled former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and delivered the memorable line: “The land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism”, packed equally powerful punches against Abbasi this year.
Pakistan’s “contribution to the globalisation of terror is unparalleled”, she declared.
“The quest for land of pure has actually produced a ‘land of pure terror’.
“Pakistan is now ‘Terroristan’ with a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism,” Gambhir added.
In his speech, Abbasi warned of the possibility of a “dangerous escalation” in the subcontinent and clamoured for intervention by the global organisation.
Accusing New Delhi of frequently violating the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, he said that “if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of ‘limited’ war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response”.
“The international community must act decisively to prevent the situation from a dangerous escalation,” he said.
Abbasi also admitted that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is directed against India.
“Confronted by a hostile and increasingly militarized neighbour, Pakistan has been obliged to maintain the capability for credible deterrence,” he said. “Our strategic assets are vital to deter oft-threatened aggression.”
Abbasi spent almost a third of his General Assembly address of about 12 minutes attacking India.
Abassi also accused India of war crimes over the use of pellet guns by law enforcement personnel and warned of a “dangerous escalation” on the subcontinent.
Lampooning Abbasi’s claim of fighting terrorism, she said: “This is a country whose counter-terrorism policy is to mainstream and upstream terrorism by either providing safe haven to global terror leaders in it military towns or protecting them with political careers.”
“It is extraordinary that the state which protected (former Al Qaeda leader) Osama bin Laden and sheltered Mullah Omar should have the gumption to play the victim.
“By now all Pakistan’s neighbours are painfully aware of these tactics of creating narratives based on distortions, deception and deceit,” the diplomat said.
She also said that the current state of Pakistan could be gauged from the fact that Hafiz Saeed, leader of the UN-designated terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, was now seeking to be legitimised as a leader of a political party.
Stating that nothing can justify Pakistan’s avaricious efforts to covet territories of its neighbours, Gambhir said: “In so far as India is concerned, Pakistan must understand that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of India.
“However much it scales up cross-border terrorism, it will never succeed in undermining India’s territorial integrity.”
Ridiculing Pakistan for its complaints about the consequences it faced for its counter-terrorism efforts, she said: “Having diverted billions of dollars in international development aid towards creating a dangerous infrastructure of terror on its own territory Pakistan is now speaking of the high cost of its terror industry.
“The polluter in this case is paying the price,” she added.
Gambhir got the backing of an Afghan diplomat, who spoke after her, also exercising his right of reply to Abbasi’s allegations about terrorism coming to Islamabad from Kabul.
The Afghan diplomat asked where did Osama, Mullah Omar and his successor Mullah Akhtar Mansoor die, and answered they were locations in Pakistan.
“That was the country from which more than 20 international terrorist organisations came to Afghanistan and even Abbasi had admitted that those who carried out the May 31 bomb attack in Kabul that killed more than 150 people may have come from his country,” he added.
None of the 112 other countries that have spoken so far in the annual high-level General Assembly debate has even mentioned the Kashmir issue, and last year none other than Pakistan did during the entire session.
Earlier on Thursday, Abbasi met Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Pakistani media reported that he handed over to Guterres a dossier of “Indian atrocities in Kashmir”.