India tells Pakistan to clear up its worst human rights record before pointing fingers

United Nations:  India has told Pakistan that as one of the world’s worst human rights offenders, it should first clear its own record before pointing fingers at others.

“As a country with one of the world’s worst human rights records, particularly when it comes to minority and women’s rights, Pakistan would do well to put its own house in order before venturing to point a finger at the world’s largest democracy”, Petal Gahlot, a first secretary in India’s UN Mission said on Friday exercising the right of reply to Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s speech.

Gahlot dismissed Kakar’s attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue saying they were integral parts of India.

“We reiterate that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India”, she said.

“Matters pertaining to the UTs of J&K and Ladakh are purely internal to India [and] Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on our domestic matters”, she added.

Kakar in his address to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly earlier in the day said the Security Council should act on Kashmir and asserted that the rights of Kashmiris were being suppressed, while “Hindutva” forces were threatening “genocide” of minorities.

Gahlot said that “Pakistan has become a habitual offender when it comes to misusing this August forum to peddle baseless and malicious propaganda against India”.

“Member states of the United Nations and other multilateral organisations are well aware that Pakistan does so to deflect the international community’s attention away from its own abysmal record on human rights”, she said.

She pointed to the plight of Christians, Hindus, Ahmadia Muslims and Sikhs, particularly women and girls from these communities, in the Islamic Republic.

“A glaring example of the systemic violence against minorities in Pakistan”, she said, “was the large-scale brutality perpetrated against the minority Christian community in Jaranwala in Pakistan’s Faisalabad District where in August 2023 a total of 19 churches were gutted and 89 Christian houses were burned down.”

“Similar treatment has been meted out to the Ahmadias whose places of worship have been demolished”, she said.

“The condition of women belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, notably Hindus Sikhs and Christians, remains deplorable [and] according to a recent report published by Pakistan’s own human rights commission, an estimated 1,000 women from minority communities are subjected to abduction and forced conversion for marriage in Pakistan every year”, she said.

Gahlot also slammed Islamabad’s role as a sponsor of international terrorism and said that the victims of the attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorism were still waiting for justice.

“Pakistan has been the home and patron to the largest number of internationally proscribed terrorist entities and individuals in the world”, she said.

“Instead of engaging in technical sophistry, we call upon Pakistan to take credible and verifiable action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, whose victims await justice, even after 15 years”, she said.

Gahlot laid out three conditions for peace in South Asia: “First, stop cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism immediately.

“Second, vacate Indian territories under it’s illegal and forcible occupation.

“And third, stop the grave and persistent human rights violations against the minorities in Pakistan”.

Saima Saleem, a counsellor in Pakistan’s UN Mission, responding to Gahlot repeated most of the points in Kakar’s speech.

Saleem came to the defence of anti-India terrorists claiming they were involved in a “freedom struggle”.

She asserted that it was a “lie is to describe the Kashmiri freedom struggle as terrorism” and claimed that it was “just legal”.

Picking up Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations, Saleem said, “India’s terrorist franchise has gone global”.

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