‘Vacate our occupied areas immediately’, India tells Pakistan at UN
India’s bold and categorical statement came after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan raked up the Kashmir issue at the UN
In a very significant development, India has asked Pakistan in categorical terms to ‘immediately vacate’ the occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Calling out Pakistan’s bluff at the United Nations, India has taken a stand that should have been taken seventy years ago!
Exercising the 'Right of Reply' in response to Imran Khan's statement at the UN, India’s First Secretary Sneha Dubey on Saturday reiterated that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh ‘were, are and will’ always be an integral and inalienable part of India. "This includes the areas that are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation," she said.
It is pertinent to remember here that the Indian Parliament had passed a unanimous resolution in 1994, emphasizing that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and that Pakistan must vacate parts of the State under its occupation. However, this is the first time that India has taken such a strong stand at the world stage, especially the UN where Pakistan has been playing out its ‘Kashmir game’ all these years.
India’s response came soon after Imran Khan raked up the Kashmir issue during his address to the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) annual high-level debate.
Interestingly, this development comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address at the 76th session of UNGA in New York this evening.
In a strongly worded statement, the First Secretary went on to expose Pakistan’s real face. “Pakistan is an arsonist, disguising itself as a firefighter. Minorities of Pakistan live in constant fear and state sponsored suppression of their rights," She added that the Member States are aware that Pakistan has a 'policy of harbouring, aiding and actively supporting terrorists'.
"This is a country that has been globally recognized as one openly supporting, training, financing and arming terrorists as a matter of State policy. It holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN Security Council," she said.
"Regrettably, this is not the first time the leader of Pakistan has misused platforms provided by the UN to propagate false and malicious propaganda against my country, and seeking in vain to divert the world’s attention from the sad state of his country where terrorists enjoy free pass while the lives of ordinary people, especially those belonging to the minority communities, are turned upside down," Dubey said.
"We exercise our Right of Reply to one more attempt by the leader of Pakistan to tarnish the image of this august forum by bringing in matters internal to my country, and going so far as to spew falsehoods on the world stage," she said.
Earlier, Imran Khan, in a pre-recorded address, had described Islamophobia as a 'pernicious phenomenon' and had said that the worst and most pervasive form of Islamophobia 'now rules India'.
He also said that the 'Hindutva ideology' being propagated by the current Indian Government was unleashing 'a reign of fear and violence' against Indian Muslims.
Khan stated that 'Pakistan desires peace with India, as with all its neighbours', but sustainable peace is 'contingent upon resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute'. Pakistan had 'unveiled a detailed dossier on gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Indian Security Forces' in the region, he said.
The onus, Imran Khan said, remains on India to create a conducive environment for meaningful and result-oriented engagement with Pakistan and added that it requires that Delhi reverse its 'unilateral and illegal measures' instituted since August 5, 2019, and ends its 'oppression and human rights violations' against the people of Kashmir. He had also asked for 'reversing the demographic changes in the occupied territory'.
Sneha Dubey hit out at Pakistan for suppressing its minority communities, saying, "Today, the minorities in Pakistan - the Sikhs, Hindus, Christians - live in constant fear and state-sponsored suppression of their rights. This is a regime where anti-Semitism is normalized by its leadership and even justified."
"Dissenting voices are muzzled daily and enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings are well documented," she said.
She pointed out that India is a pluralistic democracy with a substantial population of minorities who have gone on to hold the highest offices in the country including as President, Prime Minister, Chief Justices and Chiefs of the Army Staff. She also said that, unlike Pakistan, India is a country with free media and an independent judiciary that keeps a watch and protects our Constitution.
"Pluralism is a concept which is very difficult to understand for Pakistan which constitutionally prohibits its minorities from aspiring for high offices of the State. The least they could do is introspect before exposing themselves to ridicule on the world stage," she added.
India desires normal relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan, Dubey said. "However, it is for Pakistan to work sincerely towards creating a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible, verifiable and irreversible actions to not allow any territory under its control to be used for cross border terrorism against India in any manner," she added.
INDIA’S RESOLUTION OF 1994
A resolution on Jammu & Kashmir was moved in both Houses of Indian Parliament on February 22, 1994 by the presiding officers and adopted unanimously by the two Houses.
Here is the full text of the resolution:
Notes with deep concern Pakistan’s role in imparting training to the terrorists in camps located in Pakistan and Occupied Kashmir, the supply of weapons and funds, assistance in infiltration of trained militants including foreign mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir with the avowed purpose of creating disorder disharmony and subversion:
Reiterates that the militants trained in Pakistan are indulging in murder, loot and other heinous crimes against the people, taking them hostage and creating an atmosphere of terror;
Condemns strongly the continued support and encouragement Pakistan is extending to subversive and terrorist activities in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir;
Calls upon Pakistan to stop forthwith its support to terrorism, which is in violation of the Simla Agreement and the internationally accepted norms of inter-State conduct and is the root cause of tension between the two countries;
Reiterates that the Indian political and democratic structures and the Constitution provide for firm guarantees for the promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens;
Regards Pakistan’s anti-India campaign of calumny, and falsehood as unacceptable and deplorable.
Notes with deep concern the highly provocative statements emanating from Pakistan urges Pakistan to refrain from making statements which vitiate the atmosphere and incite public opinion Expresses regret and concern at the pitiable conditions and violations of human rights and denial of democratic freedoms of the people in those areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan;
On behalf of the People of India,
Firmly declares that:
a) The state of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means;
b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity;
And demands that –
c) Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression;
And resolves that –
d) All attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.
The Resolution was unanimously adopted, Mr. Speaker: The Resolution was unanimously passed.
February 22, 1994.
***Writer is a senior journalist; views expressed are her own