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At UN, Sushma Swaraj tells Pak: Forget Kashmir ‘dreams’

| SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Sep 27, 2016, 1:37 am IST
Updated : Sep 27, 2016, 1:37 am IST

Hits back at Sharif, asks world to act on terror.

Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs for India, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. AP
 Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs for India, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. AP

Hits back at Sharif, asks world to act on terror.

Lashing out at Pakistan at the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday over its support to terrorism, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said nations that aid, finance, arm, shelter and openly flaunt terrorists have no place in the comity of nations and should be isolated, even as she attacked Islamabad for “the worst form of State oppression” in its restive province of Balochistan. The minister also declared that Jammu and Kashmir would remain an integral part of India, asking Islamabad to “forget its dream” of attaining Kashmir. Ms Swaraj also raised the Uri and Pathankot cross-border terror attacks, saying India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken steps for friendship with Pakistan but had got the Pathankot and Uri terror attacks in return. She also criticised Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif for making baseless allegations of human rights violations against India, adding that those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Ms Swaraj also named and shamed Pakistan for supporting terrorism and referred to captured Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorist Bahadur Ali, saying: “Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror”. She also urged the UN to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) treaty without further delay, after it had been hanging fire for several years.

“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account. These nations, in which UN-designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations,” Ms Swaraj said in her 18-minute speech.

“On 21st September, the Prime Minister of Pakistan used this podium to make baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country. I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including Balochistan. The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression,” she further said.

“The Prime Minister of Pakistan also said India has placed preconditions for talks which are not acceptable to him. What preconditions Did we impose any precondition before extending an invitation for the oath-taking ceremony of our government Did we impose any precondition when I went to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference and agreed to begin the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue Did we impose any precondition when Prime Minister Modi travelled from Kabul to Lahore What preconditions We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship! We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Id greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well being,” the external affairs minister pointed out.

“Did all this come with preconditions attached And what did we get in return Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri. Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial. It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets. 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 asserted.

“This month we marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on this city. Tragically, less than 15 days ago, another attempt at killing innocents was made through an act of terror in this same city. We, who have suffered in Uri recently, understand the pain inflicted by the same forces. The world has been battling this scourge for long. However, despite the blood and tears of innocent victims, attacks this year alone in Kabul and Dhaka, Istanbul and Mogadishu, Brussels and Bangkok, Paris, Pathankot and Uri as well as daily barbaric tragedies in Syria and Iraq, remind us that these malevolent forces are yet to be defeated. We must acknowledge that terrorism is undoubtedly the biggest violation of human rights. It targets the innocent and kills indiscriminately. Terrorism has gone way beyond affecting individuals or nations — it is a crime against humanity itself. But it is important to ask — who is behind this and who benefits from it Terrorists do not own banks or weapons factories, so let us ask the real question: who finances these terrorists, who arms them and provides sanctuaries We heard similar questions being asked by Afghanistan from this podium,” the minister said.

“History proves that those who seed extremist ideologies, reap a bitter harvest. The germ of evil has grown into a hydra-headed monster, backed by technological sophistication that threatens the peace and harmony of our world. We will not be able to win against terrorism by making specious distinctions between your problems and mine, between terrorists who attack you and those who attack me. For we do not know who this Frankenstein’s monster will devour next,” she added.

The minister further said: “The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996. In 2016, despite the passage of two decades, we are yet to come to a conclusion. As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore, it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical convention.”

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi