COLUMN: Truth sounds much better.
UNITED NATIONS: It doesn’t measure up to the same level of unabashed excitement, say, compared to a cricket or hockey match between India and Pakistan, but it’s arguably the next best thing between the two countries when they spar with and try outwit each other annually on the international stage: the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Taking a cue from the gentlemanly game of cricket, India has for long been extremely polite in their speeches at the UNGA, with umpteen rhetoric over the years by prime ministers, ministers and ambassadors astutely avoiding the word ‘Pakistan’ in their suave finger-pointing at a ‘neighbor’ who’s vile, hostile and the scum of the Earth.
Everybody knew, of course, who India was referring to. Despite the glib diplomatic jargon, everybody knew India was accusing Pakistan of state-sponsored terrorism. Just like the game of cricket, after pitching a vicious bouncer which found its mark, India would show concern for the bruised victim, smile, assure the world that the two neighbors were jolly good fellows, bilateral partners.
Imagine a murderer or a terrorist trying to futilely hide in public, with a spotlight always following the criminal, pointing out who the real culprit is. That’s been Pakistan, at the UNGA. It’s not been much fun for Pakistan, assuredly. They would rather take the chance of trying to beat India at the World Cup, than face the dismal prospect of the annual flogging by India at the UN, and trying to put on a game face as if ‘Hey folks! We’re fine, just give us Kashmir for all our horrible pains’.
And now, this year, things have decidedly taken a turn for the worse. Got horrendously nastier for the Pakistanis.
Why? Because, India got tired of the meaningless diplomatic niceties of not taking Pakistan by name, decided to take the murderer’s name in public, and demand apt punishment for the perpetrators of terrorism right from 9/11 in New York, to Uri, in Kashmir.
For the audience – comprised of dignitaries, delegates and media persons – it means the end of an annual ritual of accusations galore without the suspect being named, the age of zero indictments and no judgments probably coming to an end.
In her scathing and highly effective response to Nawaz Sharif and the hypocritical Pakistan’s strategy of bringing the topic of Kashmir at the UNGA, while secretly sponsoring unrest and fomenting terrorism in the state and globally, Indian diplomat at the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations Eenam Gambhir took the name of Pakistan a total of 10 times.
Gambhir blasted and indeed humiliated Pakistan, spoke the truth to the world with no diplomatic niceties involved, except for keeping a level voice and modulating her comments as if narrating the minutes of a business meeting.
Gambhir’s response to Sharif’s stupid, hate mongering speech was forthright and startling for its brevity, with a powerful overlying message to all the international delegates present: shun the Pakistanis for killing innocent men, women and children, both in their own country and in their neighboring countries, and the world. She made it clear: Pakistanis are a shameful lot, who need to be scorned by the rest of the world.
Pakistan has probably more coming its way.
To drive home the point that the world would be a better place if Pakistan stopped exporting terrorism and instead try to improve their own country and economy and the lot of their own people, India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will address UNGA on September 26th.
Here’s the full text of Eenam Gambhir’s statement:
I take the floor to exercise the right of reply in response to the long tirade of Pakistan about the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The worst violation of human rights is terrorism. When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime.
What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region.
Only last week, the international community honored the memory of thousands of innocent victims from around the world, who lost their lives not far from here in New York fifteen years ago in a most horrifying terror attack.
The world has not yet forgotten that the trail of that dastardly attack led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan.
The land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centers of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism. It attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.
The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe.
It is ironical therefore that we have seen today the preaching of human rights and ostensible support for self-determination by a country which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism.
Shortly before Pakistan gave its hypocritical sermons in this august house today, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in Uri that claimed 18 Indian lives. That terrorist attack is part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country.
What we see in Pakistan, Mr. President, is a terrorist state, which channelizes billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours.
Terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam its streets freely and operate with State support. With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organizations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations.
Even today we have heard support by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen.
Pakistan is a country with a democracy deficit. In fact it practices terrorism on its own people. It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws.
As a democracy India is firmly resolved to protect all our citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail.
Finally, Mr President, we have heard Pakistan, whose nuclear proliferation record is marked by deception and deceit, talking about restraint, renunciation and peace.
Similar false promises it has made to us – the international community – on terrorism. Perhaps renunciation of lies and self-restraint on threats could be a good place for Pakistan to start.
I thank you Mr President.
(Sujeet Rajan is Editor-in-Chief, The American Bazaar. Follow him @SujeetRajan1)