ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani diplomat issued a strongly worded response to an Indian statement against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, saying that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory that would never become a part of India.
Hours earlier, Khan described India as the only country in the world that was sponsoring Islamophobia and encouraging violence against its Muslim population. He briefed the international community on developments in Indian-administered Kashmir and claimed that New Delhi was planning a “false flag operation” in the region to implicate Pakistan and acquire an aggressive posture toward his country.
An Indian delegate, who left the UNGA hall when the world body played out the recorded statement of the Pakistani leader, returned to the venue later and described Khan’s speech as “full of lies, misinformation and warmongering.” He also described Kashmir as India’s “integral part,” saying that the only dispute in the region related to those areas of the Himalayan territory that were affiliated with Pakistan.
In a scathing riposte, Zulqarnain Chheena, a young Pakistani diplomat, negated the claim that Kashmir was an Indian territory.
“Before I start, I hope that the distinguished Indian delegate is present and listening,” he said while exercising his right to reply, “and not running away from the truth like his colleague did in the morning.”
“In Jammu and Kashmir, India has no other claim than that of a military occupier,” he continued. “It is compelled to use naked force to impose its occupation on an unwilling and oppressed people. Ask the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they will tell you emphatically: Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of India. It never was and never will be.”
Discussing the situation of Muslims in India, he mentioned Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim majority neighborhood in New Delhi, where protesters took to the streets against India’s controversial citizenship law in February and faced a violent response.
“Hindu zealots perpetrated a well-organized and orchestrated pogrom of Muslims in order to teach the ‘traitors’ a lesson,” Chheena said. “Countless Muslims were killed, their homes burned, their properties looted, their places of worship desecrated — all with the connivance and complicity of the Indian state.”
“The charred streets of Delhi not only expose the Hindutva ideology in all its intolerant glory, they also manifested the trusted method the Hindu extremists have resorted to — from Gujrat in 2002 to Delhi in 2020 — to address the ‘Muslim menace,’” he continued.
He said that India believed it could subdue the Kashmiri resistance through brute force, but this would not happen.
“The arc of the moral universe is long,” he quoted Martin Luther King Jr., “but it bends toward justice.”