India answers Nawaz Sharif: First vacate POK









Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN

New York/New Delhi : Bluntly calling Pakistan a “prime sponsor of terrorism,” India today strongly hit back at Islamabad, asserting de-militarising Kashmir is not the answer for achieving peace but “deterrorising” Pakistan is as it uses terror as a “legitimate instrument” of its statecraft.

India’s External Affairs Ministry, in a burst of swift tweets, hit back saying, “Pak PM gets foreign occupation right, occupier wrong. We urge early vacation of Pak-occupied Kashmir.”

Exercising India’s Right of Reply during the General Debate of 70th session of UN General Assembly here late on Wednesday, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Abhishek Singh termed as “regrettable” Pakistan once again choosing to “misuse” the high level segment of the UN General Assembly session to “distort reality and portray a false picture of the challenges in our region”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address to the General Assembly earlier in the day, had said his country is the “primary victim” of terrorism.

Singh retorted sharply that “in truth, it is actually a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists. The heart of the matter is a state that regards the use of terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world watches with concern as its consequences have spread beyond its immediate neighbourhood.

“All of us stand prepared to help, if only the creators of this monster wake up to the dangers of what they have done to themselves,” Singh said, adding that Pakistan was seeking to mask its activities as though an outcome of domestic discontent in Jammu and Kashmir carries no credibility with the world.

On Sharif’s remarks that Jammu and Kashmir is under foreign occupation, Singh said the “occupier in question is Pakistan.”

On Sharif’s reference to ceasefire violations and exchanges of fire along the Line of Control and the International Boundary, Singh said the world knows that the “primary reason for firing is to provide cover to terrorists crossing the border.

“It needs no imagination to figure out which side initiates this exchange,” he said.

He added that it is not uncommon for states, when confronted with serious challenges, to shift responsibility on others.

“That is the case with Pakistan and terrorism, reflecting the inability to recognise that this is a home grown problem that has begun to bite the hand that fed it. We agree that terrorism has underlying causes ”“ in this case, poverty of wisdom and ignorance of consequences,” he said.

He also pointed out that India’s reservations about the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor stem from the fact that it passes through Indian territory “illegally occupied” by Pakistan for many years.

On Sharif saying that the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir remains unresolved and that dialogue has not progressed, Singh said “this is because Pakistan has chosen to disregard its commitments, whether it was under the 1972 Simla Agreement, the 2004 Joint Declaration forswearing terrorism, or more recently, the understanding between our two Prime Ministers at Ufa”.

Singh asserted that on each occasion, it is India that has extended the hand of friendship.

“India remains open even today to engage Pakistan on outstanding issues in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence,” he said.

“To de-militarise Kashmir is not the answer, to de-terrorise Pakistan is,” India said on the External Affairs Ministry website. Referring to Sharif saying that his country is a major victim of terrorism, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Pakistan is the prime sponsor of terrorism.

“Pakistan is not primary victim of terrorism but of its own policies. It is in fact the prime sponsor of terrorism,” MEA posted.

“Pakistan’s instability arises from its breeding of terrorists. Blaming neighbours is not a solution,” he said.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be speaking at the UN Thursday and will likely deliver a solid rebuttal to Pakistan.

“Peace can be achieved through dialogue, not disengagement,” Sharif said in his address to the General Assembly. “Cooperation, not confrontation, should define our relationship.”

Claiming that Pakistan is taking the lead to seek “peace,” Sharif spouted this four point formula to “avert further escalation.”

– Pakistan and India formalise and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete – ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir with increased monitoring by the UNMOGIP

– Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances.

– Demilitarise Kashmir

– Unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier,

However, beyond the international publicity that Sharif hopes his announcement could generate, his initiative has internal contradictions. Sharif did not offer any credible solutions to terrorism directed against India, including a crackdown on anti-India terrorists.

Equating the suffering of Kashmiris with that of the Palestinians, Sharif had said in his address that are Muslims are suffering across the world with “Palestinians and Kashmiris oppressed by foreign occupation; persecuted minorities; and the discrimination against Muslim refugees fleeing persecution or war.”

Asked about four initiatives raised by Sharif, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters to wait for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s address to the General Assembly today.

“We have extended repeatedly our hand of friendship to Pakistan. But at the same time, we have said that any cross border provocation will also be responded to,” he said.

With inputs from PTI


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