Nawaz Sharif at the UN
by Rijul Singh Uppal on 21 Sep 2016 4 Comments

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is due to address the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today (Sept. 21). Doubtless, Sharif will once again speak on Kashmir, something his nation feels enunciates “Pakistan’s position on key international issues.” Whatever that means!


He will surely blunder when he refers to the recent violence in the Kashmir valley that ensued after Pakistan-backed separatists, terror organisations and rented mobs engaged in violence towards our forces after they tracked down and neutralised a dreaded terrorist, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. This will be a blunder because Pakistan has fallen out of repute with the international community and is now being called out for its dirty jihadi games. The West, having begun to suffer repeated blows at the hands of jihadist elements, is slowly shifting from its Pakistan appeasement policy.


Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who will address the UN on 26th September, will no doubt rebut Nawaz Sharif’s absurdities on Kashmir. As representative of a State that has faced continuous assaults by Pakistan-backed terrorists, she would also exhort nations around the world to join India in declaring Pakistan a State-sponsor of terrorism.


Ms Swaraj will also carry the Indian Prime Minister’s message and tear through Pakistan’s track record of human rights violations in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Balochistan, territories illegally occupied and annexed by Pakistan.


Nawaz Sharif last month sent 22 representatives to voice Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir after Prime Minister Modi spoke of the blatant human rights violations and systematic genocide of native populations by Pakistan in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India’s Independence Day.


But Pakistan should know that it does not hold the same international leverage as it did earlier in its unofficial role of a British (and then US) protectorate. While it was carved out due to the nefarious designs of the British, the Americans kept it safe internationally (US even threatened India in 1971) throughout the Cold War and up till recently. While the American establishment is still trying to play safe with Pakistan, a gradual shift is visible. Just earlier this year, Indian lobbyists in Washington D.C. managed to thwart the White House’s plans to provide subsidised F-16 Vipers to Pakistan. The likely next POTUS is expected to get the US foreign policy on the right track internationally.


Pakistan’s continuous poking of India in the international arena could boomerang as India under Modi has sent signals that it will not back down from taking any and every approach against Pakistan and its terror-as-state-policy. India’s diplomatic victory with the Russians cancelling Joint Military Exercises with Pakistan, in the POK region, has sent a clear message to China which has begun to ponder the viability of its economic corridor through Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan.


At the UN, too, China would have to revise its continuous vetoing of India’s demands for regional stability. It recently stalled a UNSC sanction against Masood Azhar, a dreaded terrorist. After the attack on the rear infantry base at Uri on the morning of September 18, Beijing would have to rethink to what extent it wants to protect Pakistan.


Islamabad currently houses and protects both Hafiz Muhammed Saeed and Mohammed Masood Azhar, co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and founder of the Jaish-e-Mohammed respectively. Both Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar are designated terrorists by the US and are wanted by India.


Beijing will have much to answer for its continuous vetoing of sanctions against Masood Azhar, a man who openly calls for jihad, was responsible for the deadly attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, and who was freed as ransom after terrorists hijacked an Indian Airlines aircraft in 1999.


Washington, too, needs to answer for its mollycoddling of Pakistan despite the fact that Hafiz Saeed lives and roams freely in Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed is listed under UNSC Res 1267 (1999) and by allowing him to conduct his activities freely, give anti-India speeches and raise an open call for jihad, Pakistan is in open violation of UNSC Res 1373 (2001) and subsequent resolutions including 1377 (2001), 1566 (2004). Moreover, UNSC Res 2199 (2015) and subsequent resolutions call for action against individuals and groups with links to the IS and Al-Qaeda, of which both JeM and LeT have many.


Both the US and China have much to answer for in their attitude towards Pakistan, which violates the resolutions of the Security Council and is a greater threat to peace in Asia which is in the throes of a jihadi power struggle. The attack on a rear infantry base in Uri is the latest from Pakistan’s arsenal. India will surely give it a befitting response at an appropriate time.


The UNSC should now either accept its failures in combating terrorist activities or take action against Pakistan. The Council also needs to establish what support mechanisms the Pakistani State has been providing to the IS in the Middle East and more recently in Asia. The danger from Pakistan is real. The earlier the denial ends, the sooner the mollycoddling will end.


The author’s twitter handle is @therijuluppal

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