New Delhi: Launching a blistering attack on Pakistan, External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday accused the neighbouring country of glorifying killers and turning a blind eye towards ‘blood of innocents’. “The country prints postage stamps glorifying terrorists. If we do not act now, we will have to deal with conflagration later,” said the foreign minister, while delivering her speech at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Notably, Swaraj was referring to Islamabad releasing postage stamps ‘glorifying’ slain Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani, who was gunned down in an encounter with Indian security forces in July 2016.
She also accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and masking malevolence with verbal duplicity. “Our neighbour’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism but is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” the EAM said. (Full Text of Sushma Swaraj Speech at 73rd UN General Assembly)
Swaraj also denied Pakistan’s claim that India was shying away from talks. “We are accused of sabotaging the process of talks. This is a complete lie. We believe that talks are only rational means to resolve the most complex of disputes. Talks with Pakistan have begun many times. If they stopped, it was only because of their behaviour,” said the External Affairs Minister.
She told the world leaders that the Pakistan has also betrayed the United States by providing ‘safe haven’ to the architect and ideologue of 9/11 terror attack, Osama Bin Laden. “Even after the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed by American special forces, Pakistan continued to behave as if nothing had happened,” the EAM asserted.
“America had declared Osama bin Laden it’s most dangerous enemy, and launched an exhaustive, worldwide search to bring him to justice. What America perhaps could not comprehend was that Osama would get sanctuary in a country that claimed to be America’s friend and ally: Pakistan. Eventually, America’s intelligence services discovered the truth of this hypocrisy, and its special forces delivered justice,” Swaraj added.
The foreign minister also lambasted the UN over its inaction for adopting a global convention on international terrorism. “India had proposed a draft document in 1996 on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN but even till today, that draft has remained a draft, because UN member states cannot agree on a common language. On the one hand, we want to fight terrorism; on the other, we cannot define it,” the EAM said, in her address to the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UNGA stated.
Referring to Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on whom the US has put a USD 10 million bounty for information leading to his arrest and conviction, Swaraj said,” Terrorists with a price on their head are celebrated, financed and armed as liberation heroes by a country that remains a member of the United Nations. It is because of such inactions that terrorists with a bounty on their head are celebrated and glorified with postage stamps,” she added.
Notably, Swaraj’s attack on Pakistan comes days after she refused to interact with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (Saarc) ministerial meeting.
Earlier in the day, Qureshi turned the diplomatic snub into a personal vendetta, making a unprofessional remarks in public about her to the accompaniment of derisive laughter. “I was quite concerned when I saw the Minister for External Affairs, when I was in the room she looked pale to me. She looked very worried. I wish, I wish we could have smiled at each other,” Qureshi said while laughing.