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India asks Pakistan to 'abandon futile quest' of Kashmir at the United Nations

United Nations: India on Wednesday hit out at Pakistan — a country that has "established itself as a global epicentre of terrorism", and asked it to abandon its "futile quest" of Kashmir.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin strongly rejected remarks on Kashmir made by Pakistan's envoy Maleeha Lodhi during a UN General Assembly debate on 'Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organisation'. He also  called for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations' governance architecture.

Roundly attacking Pakistan, he said some countries use terrorists as proxies in their territorial quests. "Just less than 10 days ago the GA Debate witnessed a singular lack of support for Pakistan's baseless claims. Need one say more. Our response to Pakistan is consistent. Abandon your futile quest. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so. No amount of misuse of international fora by Pakistan will change that reality. The sell by date of Pakistan's anachronistic approach is over."

He said the UN has become unresponsive to the needs of our time and ineffective to the meeting the challenges it is confronted with.

"It is a body that ponders for 6 months on whether to sanction leaders of organizations it has itself designated as terrorist entities. At best, it is now a body that can be described as an interesting and random mix of Ad-hocism, scrambling and political paralysis. The Global governance architecture now calls for comprehensive reform."

On the issue of terrorism, he said the UN is yet to come up with a coherent policy let alone take the lead on one of the biggest threats to global peace and security. "It is near impossible to argue the case of relevance of the UN on the issue of terrorism where even adoption of an international norm to "prosecute or extradite" terrorists evades us despite 20 years of talk," according to a statement.

“Inability to address what is amongst the most dangerous of scourges faced by States and societies collectively since World War II raises questions about the relevance of our Organization to the very lives of the people who we are bound by the Charter to act on behalf of. The choice of relevancy requires a willingness to address what is staring us in the face. Yet we look away,” he lamented.

A file photo of Syed Akbaruddin. Agencies

A file photo of Syed Akbaruddin. Agencies

In a reference to the surgical strikes conducted by India, Lodhi said "in the past few weeks India has engaged in unprovoked shelling across wide territory along the Line of Control. This continues to this day and even as I speak."

Lodhi dwelled at length on Kashmir in her remarks to the General Assembly, saying Pakistan is ready to engage with India in dialogue but it is New Delhi which will have to take the first step as India had "escalated" the current situation.

"Pakistan wants peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Kashmir, the settlement of which is more urgent today than ever. But it is for India to take the first step because it is India which has escalated the current situation," she said.

Lodhi said India "does not even allow" the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to 'fully function' according to its mandate and to report to the Security Council.

She said India's "continuing denial" of the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir has sparked "another indigenous and popular uprising" in Kashmir and also led to tensions in the region.

"The UN is obliged play a role in bringing an end to human rights abuses and facilitate a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, through a free and fair plebiscite under its auspices," Lodhi said.

She also reiterated Pakistan's demand for an independent inquiry into the alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir and welcomed the call by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights for "unfettered and unconditional access to enable impartial monitoring of the human rights situation there."

She also blamed India for continuing to reject the offer of good offices of the Secretary General to resolve "longstanding disputes in our region".

Akbaruddin said the international community must address the growing terrorism, which is the most dangerous of scourges faced by nations, yet it looks away.

"We look away as some amongst us stall our collective efforts, as they use terrorists as proxies in their territorial quests," he said in a reference to Pakistan.

On peacekeeping, Akbaruddin said the "leitmotif" of the UN is under great stress.

"A plethora of tasks and Christmas tree mandates without adequate funding; departure from well-established principles of impartiality; avoidance of the primacy of politics and focus instead on 'band aid' solutions through peace keeping; and an unwillingness to walk away from quagmires into the sunset; are all part of the burgeoning philosophical dilemma facing peace keeping," he said.

He also voiced concern over the "appalling" cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers.

"Peacekeepers turning into predators is our worst nightmare come true," he said.

India's approach to name and shame Pakistan at the international forum is part of India's foreign policy. After the Uri attacks on 18 September, India has taken a strong stand against Pakistan and state-sponsored terror. In an effort to institute a form of deterrence to cross-border terror attacks, India carried out the surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) on 29 September.

Indian and Pakistan has often engaged in a verbal war at the United Nations over the Kashmir issue. Last month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her speech at UNGA asked Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif to stop dreaming about Kashmir. “My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so,” she said.

In July 2016, Akbaruddin gave an eloquent speech at the high-level "UN@70 Human Rights at the centre of the global agenda" outrightly pointing out Pakistan's hypocrisy and shaming them for exhorting terrorism.

"The attempt came from Pakistan; a country that covets the territory of others; a country that uses terrorism as state policy towards that misguided end; a country that extols the virtues of terrorists and that provides sanctuary to UN-designated terrorists; and a country that masquerades its efforts as support for human rights and self determination," he said.

Couching the Pakistan issue within the narrative of human rights, Akbaruddin gave India a leg-up in the conversation gaining the world's attentions.

"Pakistan is the same country whose track record has failed to convince the international community to gain membership of the Human Rights Council in this very Session of the UNGA. The international community has long seen through such designs. Cynical attempts, like the one this morning therefore, find no resonance in this forum or elsewhere in the United Nations."

On Tuesday the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) declared that it won't be discussing the matter of India-Pakistan tensions despite Paksitan's repeated attempts at getting the UN to take up the issue of Kashmir and the recent surgical strikes across LoC.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 06, 2016 09:47 AM

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