India has denounced Pakistan’s “preposterous” attempt to exploit and dishonour the memory of the innocent victims of the 2014 Peshawar school massacre by making false allegations against New Delhi.
“The despicable insinuation made by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan (Shah Mahmood Qureshi) dishonors the memory of the innocent lives lost to terrorists that day,” Eenam Gambhir, an Indian diplomat, told the General Assembly on Saturday denouncing Qureshi’s claim that India was behind the attack that was carried out by the Pakistan Taliban.
“It is a desperate attempt to look away from the monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created in its quest to destabilise neighbours and covet their territory,” she said while exercising the right of reply to his speech.
“Let me recollect for the new government of Pakistan the outpouring of sorrow and pain in India that followed the massacre of innocent children in 2014.
“Both houses of India’s Parliament had expressed solidarity while paying respect to the memory of those killed (and) schools all over India had observed two minutes of silence in their memory,” the counsellor in India’s UN mission said.
Qureshi spoke at the General Assembly after India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had delivered a scathing attack on Islamabad for promoting terrorism in the region and warning the world of a conflagration if it did not act against the sponsors and protectors of terrorists.
He tried to portray Pakistan as a victim of terrorism and made the claim about the Peshawar incident.
He also dragged in Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian that Pakistan’s military courts have in violation of accepted legal norms sentenced to death on spying charges.
New Delhi has said that he did not work with India’s intelligence services and had been kidnapped and falsely accused.
With a fact-check, Gambhir challenged Qureshi’s claim that Pakistan was making headway against terrorists.
“Can Pakistan deny the fact that it is the host and patron of 132 of the UN designated terrorists and 22 terrorist entities sanctioned under the 1267 and 1988 UN Security Council sanctions regimes as of today?” she asked.
Those Council resolutions known by their numbers impose sanctions on Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
“Will Pakistan deny that the UN designated terrorist Hafez Saeed enjoys a free run inside Pakistan, spews venom and sets up candidates for electoral offices,” she challenged Qureshi.
Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that killed 164 people, the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament.
He is the co-founder of the LeT and the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD) and an internationally designated terrorist with a US bounty or $10 million.
India had canceled the proposed talks between Qureshi and Swaraj in New York after three Indian security personnel were killed by terrorists.
Gambhir said that Qureshi “chose to term the gruesome killing of our security personnel by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists as flimsy ground” for calling off the talks.
“While it may not be the case for Pakistan, for India every loss of life counts,” she said.
“Hence our belief that talks and terror cannot go together.”
Gambhir said that Pakistan’s attempts to be a champion of human rights “is vintage verbal duplicity”.
“It is evident from the recent example of Princeton economist Professor Atif Mian’s apointment and removal from economic advisory council of Pakistan on grounds that he belongs to a minority,” she said.
He is a member of the Ahmadi sect of Islam whose members Pakistan officially does not recognise as Muslim.
Gambhir also took issue with Qureshi citing the report on Kashmir presented by Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
It was “a report no member state had asked for and none supported and on which no action was taken”, she said.
“Let me make it clear to the new government of Pakistan that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India,” she declared.
“Fake allegations and fake facts can only make for a fake vision. For a new vision to materialise Pakistan must demonstrate that it has moved beyond the narrative of deception, deceit and distortion.”
Gambhir is known for her memorable speech at the 2016 General Assembly session where she said that Pakistan “the land of Taxila, the greatest site of learning in ancient India, is now host to the Ivy League of terrorists around the globe”.
A Pakistani diplomat followed her with a statement exercising its right of reply.
He tried to divert attention from the terrorism charges his country faces with attacks on the Rashtriya Swyamsewk Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party.