India has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that Pakistan is ‘home and patron to the largest number of internationally proscribed terrorist entities’.
February 25, 2021; India on Wednesday exercised the ‘Right of Reply’ at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to respond to remarks made by Pakistan, Turkey, and reference to India in the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) statement.
What did Pakistan say
Young Indian diplomat Seema Pujani, second secretary at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva, took the podium to respond to Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari who had raised the issue of Kashmir saying, “India has exploited the pandemic to accelerate the pace of its colonisation project” in Kashmir and to “consolidate its illegal and unilateral action of 5th August 2019.”
What did India say
In response, Pujani said, “We reiterate that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India. The steps taken by the Government to ensure good governance and development in these Union Territories are our internal matters.”
Spelling out the human rights violations within Pakistan, she added, “The violence, institutionalized discrimination and persecution faced by Pakistan’s minorities, including Christians, Sikhs and Hindus, has continued unabated. There have been frequent attacks on the places of worship of minority communities, a grave violation of their right to freedom of religion and belief.”
She named those human rights activists who have been persecuted or whose family members have been victimised by the Pakistani state for speaking up like Gulalai Ismail, a Pakistani human rights defender who campaigned against violence against women and enforced disappearances who was charged with sedition, terrorism and defamation in May 2020, or for that matter Idris Khattak, a former consultant with Amnesty International and Human Rights watch who has himself become a victim of “enforced disappearance”
She added, “Mr. Khattak had himself worked on reports on enforced disappearances in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, before disappearing himself in November 2019, in a cruel twist of fate. The UN human rights experts have called upon the Pakistani authorities to end Mr. Khattak’s secret detention at the earliest.”
While Pakistan tried to raise the issue of terrorism, the Indian diplomat highlighted the fact that only recently Omar Saeed Sheikh, the al-Qaeda terrorist and murderer of the American journalist Daniel Pearl, had been acquitted by the Pakistani Supreme Court.
Calling it a clear example of the Pakistani establishment’s nexus with such entities, she said, “as the US Secretary of State said, it is ‘an affront to terrorism victims everywhere.’ We request the Council to call upon Pakistan to take credible and irreversible steps to end state-sponsored terrorism and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the territories under its control.”
She also reminded the world body that Pakistan has been the “home” and “patron” to the largest number of internationally proscribed terrorist entities and individuals in the world.
“As many as 126 individuals and 24 entities, sanctioned under the UN Security Council 1267 and 1988 Committees’ Lists, are associated with Pakistan. State-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan is a threat, not only to India but to other countries in the region and beyond,” said Ms. Pujani.
India’s reply to Turkey
As regards the remarks made by Turkey, India asked Ankara to practice what they preach.
The Indian Right of Reply stated, “we find them completely unacceptable. It is ironical for a country which has trampled upon its own civil society to pass unjustified comments on other’s internal matters.”
As regards the OIC’s statement with references to India, it was rejected as “factually incorrect” and “unwarranted”.
“We regret that the OIC countries continue to allow Pakistan to misuse OIC platforms to indulge in anti-India propaganda,” said Seema Pujani.