Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pakistan rakes up Kashmir again at UN but India ignores taunt


By Arul Louis

United Nations, Oct 10 (IANS) Pakistan has again tried to sneak the Kashmir issue into a General Assembly debate with no relevance to the topic, but India took the high road refusing to be drawn into a “distraction” from the agenda set for the meeting.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi devoted a significant part of her speech to Kashmir at the committee dealing with decolonisation on Monday.

The Minister in India’s Permanent Mission, Srinivas Prasad, who spoke later said in his scheduled speech, “We reject the efforts of the delegation of Pakistan to bring issues which have never been on the agenda of this Committee ever in its history.”

“We-consider it a diversion from the agenda and as a distraction not worthy of a response,” Prasad added.

Kashmir is not considered a colony or a non-self-governing territory by the UN.

“Even as all those who have taken the floor have focused on issues of these Non Self-Governing Territories, a solitary member State, as usual, has ventured to plough a lonely furrow contrary to the onward march of history,” Prasad added.

Lodhi said that UN’s decolonisation agenda would remain “incomplete” without resolving the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan came back again after Prasad’ speech with Saima Sayed, a counsellor at Pakistan’s UN Mission, harking back to the 1948 Security Council resolution on Kashmir while exercising Pakistan’s right of reply.

India did not use its right to reply to Sayed.

This was Lodhi’s second attempt this month to introduce Kashmir during a debate on topics without any relevance to it.

During a debate last week in the General Assembly on the UN’s annual report, she said the surgical strikes carried out last year by India against terrorist hideouts in Pakistani-held territory never happened and asserted that New Delhi was trying to provoke her country by saying it took place.

The surgical strike was in response to an attack on an Indian position in the Uri sector that killed 18 soldiers.

As Prasad pointed out, Pakistan has been “ploughing a lonely furrow” at the UN in trying to raise the Kashmir issue with no other country taking note of it despite Lodhi bringing it up in forums where it has not relevance.

India is adopting a tactic of reacting to Pakistan’s taunts over Kashmir by either ridiculing them or ignoring them, rather than getting entangled in a debate giving it importance.

When Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi launched one of the most heated attacks in recent times on India during his address to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly last month, a First Secretary in India’s Mission Eenam Gambhir, called Pakistan “Terroristan” in her reply. “The quest for a land of pure has actually produced ‘the land of pure terror’.”

Again last week, Gambhir dismissed Lodhi’s statement on the surgical strike by saying: “My delegation does not wish to waste the precious time of this august assembly in further engaging with such distractions.”

Lodhi’s response to External Affairs Minister’s speech last month at the General Assembly backfired when she held up the picture of an injured Palestinian child claiming she was from Kashmir.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

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