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Pakistan hosts Ivy League of terrorism, UN told

New Delhi mounts counter-attack hours after Sharif’s speech at U.N. General Assembly.

Consequences of Pakistan’s policy of sponsoring terrorism have spread beyond the region, India told the U.N. General Assembly, responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s broadside against New Delhi on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. India mounted a counter-attack hours after Mr. Sharif’s speech at the General Assembly, connecting Pakistan’s record of nuclear proliferation to its support of terrorism and the dangers it posed to global security.

“The world has not yet forgotten that the trail of that dastardly attack led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan,” said Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India at the U.N, referring to the September 11 terror strikes.

“The land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism. It attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.”

Pakistan responded immediately, reiterating Mr. Sharif’s position that the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was the leader of an indigenous freedom movement. India did not exercise its second right to respond, because all that needed to be said was said in the first instance itself, according to Indian diplomats. UNGA procedures allow each country two rights of response.

‘Self-incrimination’

India’s response on the floor of the UNGA came after the Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar rebutted Mr. Sharif at a press conference. “We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Wani is declared commander of Hizbul, widely acknowledged as a terror group. It is shocking that a leader of a nation can glorify a self-advertised terrorist at such a forum. This is self-incrimination by Pakistan PM,” Mr. Akbar said.

“What we see in Pakistan, Mr. President, is a terrorist state, which channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against its neighbours,” Ms. Gambhir told the UNGA.

Not only that Pakistan supports terrorist groups, it also suppresses its own minorities and women and denies basic human rights to them while preaching human rights to others, the Indian representative said.

“We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail,” she said, adding that Indian actions were only to protect the human rights of its citizens from terrorism.

Pak. gets little support

Pakistan has sought to hard-sell its old position on Kashmir by using the current chaos and violence in the Valley, but it has got little international support.

“Pakistan has raised the issue of Kashmir at every UNGA meeting for almost seven decades. However, the last time the U.N. discussed the Kashmir issue was in 1957. Despite its raising the issue constantly, none of the other 192 countries in the U.N. has raised the Kashmir issue. All countries that responded to the recent attacks in Uri — from the U.S., the U.K., even Saudi Arabia and UAE [old allies of Pakistan] — spoke about the need to end terrorism — which is India’s position — and did not talk about human rights and self determination, which is Pakistan’s stand,” pointed out Aparna Pande, Director, Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at Hudson Institute.

“Not much will come from a state that encourages or tolerates this kind of violence. The “border” is a de facto dispute, [but] Pakistan should be using its military power to stop new and threatening events, such as those pertaining to Islamic extremism,” said Prof. Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow at Brookings.

Scholars also notice a tilt in America’s position, in favour of India, even as it tries to balance its relations with both the countries. “ … the U.S. now has good relations with India, but it should retain an interest in Kashmir, perhaps via private groups ... This seems paradoxical. It is a situation where the U.S. can help by staying somewhat aloof, but not withdrawing from Kashmir entirely,” said Mr. Cohen.

“Pakistan’s attempts to raise the Kashmir issue will not have any success in the international arena till the day that Pakistan stops supporting jihadi groups and ideologies,” said Ms. Pande.

“The U.S. is already playing a role primarily behind closed doors. Washington is doing what it has always done, lower the temperatures and prevent an escalation of conflict between two nuclear power countries. However, what is different this time round is that the U.S. has openly condemned the Uri attacks. As the readout of Secretary Kerry’s meeting with PM Sharif shows the U.S. sought to clarify that Washington condemned the attacks and unlike on earlier occasions did not link them to a resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” she pointed out.

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