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Sushma Swaraj raises Balochistan human rights issue at UN, tells Pakistan 'Kashmir will always remain with India'

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a strong pitch for isolating such nations who speak the language of terrorism and for whom sheltering terrorists has become "their calling card".

Sushma Swaraj raises Balochistan human rights issue at UN, tells Pakistan 'Kashmir will always remain with India'

United Nations: In a sharp rebuke to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a stirring call on Monday for isolating Islamabad if it does not join a global strategy against the 'malevolent' force threatening the world.

Warning the world that "we do not know who this Frankenstein's monster will devour next", she told the UN General Assembly in Hindi, "If we want to defeat terrorism, there is only one way - that we unite across our differences, add steel to our resolve and inject urgency in our response".

Taking aim at Pakistan's role in nurturing terrorism, the EAM said in her address at the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) session said that there were nations "in our midst" where UN designated terrorists roam freely and deliver "their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity", an apparent reference to Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.

She also made a strong pitch for isolating such nations who speak the language of terrorism and for whom sheltering terrorists has become "their calling card".

"In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account," Swaraj asserted in her nearly 20-minute speech.

"These nations, in which UN designated terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour. Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations," Swaraj said, in essence making a call to the international community to isolate such nations.

In a strong rebuttal of the "baseless allegations" made by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from the podium of the UN General Assembly about human rights violations by India in Kashmir, Swaraj said, "I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan. The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of state oppression." 

Swaraj added that India had offered the hand of friendship, and listed a number of initiatives India had undertaken without pre-conditions. These ranged from major initiatives like Prime Minister Narendra Modi's impromptu visit to Lahore and her own Islamabad trip, to minor gestures of amity like Eid greetings, and wishes for the success of its cricket team.

"We took the initiative to resolve issues not on the basis of conditions, but on the basis of friendship," she said.

That was a direct rebuttal to Sharif's assertion last week that India was imposing conditions for talks with his nation.

"We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent," she said.

"And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur All, and Uri," Swaraj said referring to the major terrorist attacks on India. "

"Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan's complicity in cross-border terror," she pointed out, as per IANS.

Ali was caught during a gun-battle on July 25, in Kashmir's Kupwara District.

"It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets. My firm advice to Pakistan is - abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so," the EAM emphasised.

Swaraj asserted that terrorism deeply concerns every member of the UN General Assembly, with people from New York, Kabul, Uri and Istanbul bearing the brunt of the growing scourge.

"This month we marked the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on this city. Tragically, less than 15 days ago, another attempt at killing innocents was made through an act of terror in this same city," Swaraj said reffering to the bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey earlier this month. We who have suffered in Uri recently, understand the pain inflicted by the same forces. The world has been battling this scourge for long. However, despite the blood and tears of innocent victims, attacks this year alone in Kabul and Dhaka, Istanbul and Mogadishu, Brussels and Bangkok, Paris, Pathankot and Uri as well as daily barbaric tragedies in Syria and Iraq, remind us that these malevolent forces are yet to be defeated," she said.

Swaraj underlined that the international community must acknowledge that terrorism is undoubtedly the biggest violation of human rights and is a crime against humanity.

"It targets the innocent and kills indiscriminately. Terrorism has gone way beyond affecting individuals or nations -- it is a crime against humanity itself. But it is important to ask -- who is behind this and who benefits from it? Terrorists do not own banks or weapons factories, so let us ask the real question: who finances these terrorists, who arms them and provides sanctuaries?" she said, adding that Afghanistan too had raised similar concerns on terror financing and safe havens from the UNGA podium, as per PTI

Highlighting the two pending tasks of General Assembly, Swaraj said despite the passage of two decades, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was proposed by India in 1996, is yet to be implemented.

"...We will be judged by our action and equally by our inaction. What goals have we achieved and what objectives remain unfulfilled?," she said.

"As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention," she said.

On Security Council reform, Swaraj said just as the world needs a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism, there is also need for a Security Council that is less outdated and that continues to reflect the world order of an earlier era.

"The vast majority of nations share the belief that the UN should not remain frozen in 1945, just to serve the interests of a few. Whether it is institutions or issues, we must come to terms with present day realities and the challenges that confront us," she said.

Swaraj added that an expansion in the Permanent and non-Permanent membership of the Council to reflect contemporary realities is an urgent necessity.

(With Agency inputs)

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