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Pak. duplicity key hurdle in fight against terror: Sushma

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters on September 29, 2018.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters on September 29, 2018.

Pakistan’s duplicity is a key obstacle in the global fight against terrorism and India is an immediate and continuing target of terrorism originating from there, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday.

Osama’s safe haven

“The most startling evidence of this duplicity was the fact that Osama Bin Laden, the architect and ideologue of 9/11 was given safe haven in Pakistan….that claimed to be America’s friend and ally,” Ms. Swaraj said in searing speech, trying to put Islamabad in the dock for the tensions in the region.

“The killers of 9/11 met their fate; but the mastermind of 26/11 Hafiz Saeed still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity,” the Minister said, comparing the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States with the 2008 November terrorist attack on Mumbai. India is always willing to talk to Pakistan, but continuing terrorist attacks have made peace process impossible, she said.

Though the international community has become increasingly aware of Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism, the absence of an international agreement on the definition of terrorism allows Pakistan to characterise terrorists as “freedom fighters,” Ms. Swaraj said.

World cautious

“What is heartening is that the world is no longer ready to believe Islamabad,” she said, citing the heightened scrutiny on Pakistan by the the Financial Action Task Force or FATF, for terrorism financing earlier this year. But this is not sufficient, she said, calling for accountability through international law.

 

Extenal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday reiterating India’s demand for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN General Assembly.

In her address to the Assembly which consisted of an attack on Pakistan for sponsoring terror, Ms. Swaraj said: “In 1996, India proposed a draft document on CCIT at the United Nations. Till today, that draft has remained a draft, because we cannot agree on a common language. On the one hand, we want to fight terrorism; on the other, we cannot define it. This is why terrorists with a price on their head are celebrated, financed and armed as liberation heroes by a country that remains a member of the United Nations. Cruelty and barbarism are advertised as heroism.”

“Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents,” she said.

Naming terrorism and climate change as the two existential threats to humanity, Ms. Swaraj called for increasingly efficient multilateralism to tackle global challenges. She said if the UN did not undertake immediate reform, it could meet the fate of the League of Nations that could not forge a global agenda and prevent the Second World War. “The League went into meltdown because it was unwilling to accept the need for reform. We must not make that mistake,” she said.

“The United Nations must accept that it needs fundamental reform. Reform must begin today; tomorrow could be too late. If the UN is ineffective, the whole concept of multilateralism will collapse,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name several times to argue that India was promoting its development goals in a sustainable way. “At the heart of Prime Minister Modi’s transformative vision is a radical idea: that the uplift of any nation is best achieved through the all-round empowerment of women. All the schemes that I have just spoken about have the welfare of women at their core,” she said, listing the several welfare schemes underway in India.


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