Pak Throws Delhi Off Bal­ance

Ab­basi de­serves praise for re­mind­ing world that it could not be made ‘scape­goat’ for Afghanistan fail­ures; forc­ing In­dia to give max­i­mum time to Is­lam­abad in its UN ad­dress

The Day After - - CONTENT - By DAn­fes

In­dia’s un­sa­vory knee-jerk re­ac­tion says it all. Prime Min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi’s maiden speech at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly has left New Delhi reel­ing.

Stung by scathing crit­i­cism, In­dia ex­er­cised its ‘right of re­ply’ to make a re­pug­nant re­tort, call­ing Pak­istan ‘Ter­ror­is­tan.’ This shows Ab­basi’s force­ful speech has thrown Delhi off-bal­ance, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts and For­eign Of­fice of­fi­cials.

Ab­basi’s ad­dress came against the back­drop of sim­mer­ing ten­sions be­tween the two nu­clear arch-ri­vals. So much so that when the prime min­is­ter was re­hears­ing his speech at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, In­dian bor­der guards shelled civil­ian pop­u­la­tion in Pak­istan, killing six peo­ple. Since his as­cen­sion to power, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has been do­ing all he can to iso­late Pak­istan diplo­mat­i­cally by brand­ing it a state spon­sor­ing ter­ror­ism.

The PML-N gov­ern­ment has long been crit­i­cized by its ri­vals for go­ing soft on In­dia de­spite Modi’s re­lent­less slur cam­paign against Pak­istan. Ab­basi’s pre­de­ces­sor Nawaz Sharif had been par­tic­u­larly tar­geted for not pub­licly say­ing enough against In­dia’s pol­icy of desta­bi­liz­ing Pak­istan.

Against the back­drop, Ab­basi had a chal­lenge not only to sat­isfy crit­ics at home but also de­liver a speech that must help counter the In­dian nar­ra­tive.

Though his speech cov­ered many is­sues rang­ing from cli­mate change to nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and from Pales­tine to Ro­hingya Mus­lims, his fo­cus was ten­sions with In­dia and Afghanistan im­broglio.

In a clear de­par­ture from ear­lier po­si­tion, Pre­mier Ab­basi minced no words in pub­licly nam­ing In­dia for be­ing be­hind a “cam­paign of sub­ver­sion and state­spon­sored ter­ror­ism against Pak­istan, in­clud­ing from across our western bor­der”.

Sharif did make a ref­er­ence to ‘ex­ter­nally spon­sored’ ter­ror­ism in his ad­dress to the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly last year but stopped short of ex­plic­itly nam­ing In­dia.

Pak­istan’s for­mer am­bas­sador to the US Ashraf Ja­hangir Qazi says Ab­basi’s speech re­flects Pak­istan’s po­si­tion that In­dia is spon­sor­ing ter­ror­ism. “I don’t think it has any­thing to do with the change of prime min­is­ter,” Qazi told The Ex­press Tri­bune.

He re­called that it was dur­ing Sharif’s ten­ure when Pak­istan sub­mit­ted dossiers

to the UN sec­re­tary gen­eral cat­a­loging ev­i­dence of In­dian se­cret agen­cies’ in­volve­ment in fo­ment­ing vi­o­lence in Pak­istan.

How­ever, some ob­servers be­lieve Abassi was more forth­com­ing as com­pared to his pre­de­ces­sor, who had of­ten been ac­cused by op­po­si­tion par­ties for go­ing soft on In­dia be­cause of his ‘per­sonal ties’ with Modi. Sharif was a strong pro­po­nent of nor­mal­iz­ing ties with In­dia.

Apart from other fac­tors, many peo­ple be­lieve Modi’s ‘hos­tile poli­cies’ had made it dif­fi­cult for Sharif to pur­sue rap­proche­ment as pub­lic sup­port for such an ap­proach had fast dwin­dled.

In­dia’s reign of ter­ror in Kash­mir had com­pelled Sharif to de­clare Bhurhan Wani a ‘mar­tyr’, some­thing that drew strong con­dem­na­tion from In­dia.

On the Kash­mir dis­pute, Ab­basi mostly re­peated what Sharif had said in his speech last year. The in­cum­bent prime min­is­ter de­manded the in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ‘In­dia’s crimes in Kash­mir.’

“We ask that the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral and the High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights send an in­quiry Com­mis­sion to Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir to ver­ify the na­ture and ex­tent of In­dia’s hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, se­cure the pun­ish­ment of those re­spon­si­ble and pro­vide jus­tice and re­lief to the vic­tims,” Ab­basi said in his UN speech.

The pre­mier also drew the world’s at­ten­tion to­wards the cur­rent ten­sions along the Line of Con­trol and Work­ing bound­ary.

“To di­vert the world’s at­ten­tion from its bru­tal­i­ties; In­dia fre­quently vi­o­lates the cease­fire along the Line of Con­trol in Kash­mir. De­spite over 600 vi­o­la­tions since Jan­uary this year Pak­istan has acted with re­straint. “But if In­dia does ven­ture across the LoC, or acts upon its doc­trine of ‘lim­ited’ war against Pak­istan, it will evoke a strong and match­ing re­sponse,” he added.

He cau­tioned that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must act de­ci­sively to pre­vent the sit­u­a­tion from a dan­ger­ous es­ca­la­tion.

“If it would not have made any dif­fer­ence, then why would In­dia give such a sting­ing re­ply to the PM speech,” said a For­eign Of­fice of­fi­cial, when asked if Ab­basi’s at­tempt to raise the Kash­mir dis­pute could make any dif­fer­ence.

For­mer am­bas­sador Qazi en­dorsed the view. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly the West, was aware of the sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir. They may not be crit­i­ciz­ing In­dia pub­licly be­cause of ‘po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency’ but pri­vately they must have been con­fronting New Delhi, he added.

An­a­lysts and for­mer diplo­mats also ap­plauded Ab­basi for putting up a strong de­fense of Pak­istan’s achieve­ments in the fight against ter­ror­ism and at the same time re­mind­ing the world that it could not be made ‘scape­goat’ for the fail­ures in Afghanistan.

How­ever, they be­lieve a mere speech at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly can­not make a huge dif­fer­ence as there still ex­ists a huge gap be­tween what Pak­istan says and how the world, par­tic­u­larly the West, per­ceives us.

Paulomi Tri­pathi, Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of In­dia to UN re­ply to Pak­istan at UNGA with real pic­ture of Pak-spon­sored ter­ror­ism in J&K, dur­ing the 72nd United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly (UNGA) in New York

Maleeha Lodhi, Pak­istan’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UN, shows an im­age of Gazan girl Rawya abu Joma’a claim­ing she is a Kashmiri vic­tim of In­dian vi­o­lence

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