Pakistan urges UNSC to hold accountable Indian officials responsible for crimes against civilians in Kashmir
India’s push for extremist Hindutva policies worsening situation in South Asia: Ambassador
GENEVA: A top Pakistani diplomat Tuesday cataloged a series of crimes committed by India against civilians in occupied Kashmir and fervently urged the UN Security Council to take cognizance of the “compelling evidence” on those atrocities and to hold accountable those responsible for them.
Speaking in the Security Council debate on “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”, Ambassador Munir Akram also said that India was financing, sponsoring, and supporting terrorist attacks against Pakistan, including from the territory of Afghanistan.
“India is not a victim of terrorism; It is the mothership of terrorism in South Asia,” the Pakistani envoy told the 15-member Council.
Ambassador Akram’s pointed comments evoked a response from the Indian representative, R Madhusudan, who made oft-repeated allegations against Pakistan about harboring and supporting terrorists and claiming that Jammu and Kashmir were an integral part of India. The Pakistani envoy effectively countered the Indian accusations.
He said terrorism in South Asia originated in India, a country that has also sponsored such actions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and in other neighboring countries. As regards Jammu and Kashmir, it is a territory whose destiny the Security Council has stated should be decided by its people through a free and fair plebiscite conducted under United Nations auspices.
“It is not an integral part of India,” the Pakistani envoy asserted. “If you look at any United Nations map, it is stamped on that [as] disputed territory.
Ambassador Akram also asked India’s representative whether his country subscribed to the United Nations Charter’s Article 25 which states that UN members agree to accept and carry out the Security Council decisions and whether its leaders would denounce the call for genocide against Muslims, issued on December 17, 2021, in Haridwar, Uttarakhand Province. There was no response to those particular points raised by the Pakistani envoy.
In his main speech, Ambassador Akram asked how civilians can be protected in situations where their suppression is “the very object of a military’s operations”, as is the case when foreign occupation forces forcibly deny the right of peoples to self-determination in perpetuating their illegal occupation.
He said such a situation is taking place in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where, since January 1989, Indian forces have killed 96,000 Kashmiris, widowed 23,000 women, raped over 11,250 women and girls, and destroyed over 100,000 dwellings, including schools and houses.
The Pakistani envoy pointed out that, since 5 August 2019, 900,000 Indian troops have been stationed in the region to impose “what India’s leaders have themselves ominously called a “final solution for Jammu and Kashmir”, carrying out extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiri youth, and destroying Kashmiri neighborhoods and villages.
Accusing India of being a terrorism sponsor, Ambassador Akram said with the active support of Indian intelligence agencies, TTP ( Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan) and JUA (Jamaat-ul-Ahrar) were involved in over 1000 cross-border terrorist attacks against the Pakistani military and civilian targets in 2020 alone.
India, he said, has funded and supported UN Security Council-listed terrorist entities to carry out cross-border terrorist attacks against the Pakistani military and civilian targets, including on the Karachi Stock Exchange on 29 June 2020; in Lahore on 23 June 2021; and the killing of Chinese and Pakistani engineers in Dasu on 14 July 2021.
As for Genocide, he drew attention to the anti-Muslim pogrom in New Delhi in February 2020; the almost daily cow-lynching and targeted killing of Muslims; the 400 attacks against Christian churches in India last year, and the open calls for genocide against the Muslims of India issued by extremist Hindutva two weeks ago.
Further, he called on the Council to take note of the words of the head of Genocide Watch, Gregory Stanton, who said last week that “genocide can happen in India”.
Opening the. debate on how to protect civilians caught up in urban conflict, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that more than 50 million people are currently impacted by fighting inside towns and cities.
In fact, he added, when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, around 90 percent of those killed and injured, play no part in instigating the violence
“Civilians can suffer devastating harm both in the immediate aftermath and in the long-term”, the UN chief said.
According to him, many victims face lifelong disabilities and grave psychological trauma. Water, electricity, and sanitation infrastructure are often damaged, and healthcare services are severely disrupted.” Earlier to this, highlighting the “fragile security environment at the global and regional levels,” Pakistan told a key UN panel Tuesday that the situation in South Asia was deteriorating primarily because India’s extremist regime had embarked on massive militarization, among other hostile actions in violation of international law and democratic principles.
Speaking in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN offices in Geneva, said the New Delhi government was pursuing ideologically driven Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra policies; hegemony; unlawful actions and subversion in neighboring countries; and unprecedented acquisition, expansion, and modernization of arms and delivery systems that are a threat to Pakistan.
At the same time, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s desires and determination to pursue peace, development, and strategic stability, including a peaceful neighborhood, based on sovereign equality and mutual respect. But he warned that Pakistan could not remain oblivious to the evolving security dynamics in its immediate neighborhood, and would do whatever it takes to deter and defeat all forms of aggression.
Dealing with New Delhi’s actions, the Pakistani envoy said that India, which was seeking a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council and a self-professed “largest democracy”, continued to violate international law and democratic principles, with impunity.
“Since August 2019, this regime is embarked on imposing a genocidal ‘Final Solution’ in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, in open defiance of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said, adding that it had unleashed a brutal reign of terror and oppression on the Kashmiri people, youth, women and civilians, and even against its own minority populations.
“It (India) has financed, facilitated, and directed state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan and other neighbors,” he said. “To mask these crimes, this regime has resorted to the world’s most notorious disinformation campaign, in addition to staging ‘false flag’ operations,” Ambassador Hashmi added.
As regards militarization, the Pakistani envoy said India spent $73 billion last year alone on the acquisition and development of new conventional and non-conventional land, air, and sea-based weapons systems.
India, he said, had also nuclearized the Indian Ocean; deployed anti-ballistic missile systems; cauterized nuclear-capable missiles; acquired anti-satellite weapons, and increased the range and sophistication of all its delivery systems.
“Seventy percent of India’s weaponry and forces are deployed against Pakistan,” Ambassador Hashmi told delegates. “Lack of global accountability and a generous supply of advanced weapons, as well as technologies, have enabled India to continue its defiance of international law, norms, and rules,” he added.
“These acts of omission and commission have emboldened this nuclear-armed state to operationalize its dangerous doctrines of pre-emptive aggression against Pakistan into war-fighting strategies, to continue perpetuating the occupation, and to foment terrorism,” he said.
“The international community, including this body, must call out this impunity and willful defiance of international legality,” he said, adding, “Failure to do so entails risks to regional peace and security in South Asia and beyond.
“This conference cannot and should not ignore these clear and present dangers.” Elaborating Pakistan’s position, Ambassador Hashmi said peace and stability in South Asia could be achieved through resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people; maintenance of a balance of conventional and strategic military forces between Pakistan and India; and reciprocal measures for nuclear, missile and military restraint between the two countries. Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia remained on the table, he added.