Remember Eenam Gambhir? Three years ago, the 2005-batch Indian Foreign Service officer had everyone in awe at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly session in New York when she gave a scathing rebuttal to the then Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi’s speech. “Pakistan is now Terroristan,” Gambhir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, had said famously.
Then arrived Vidisha Maitra from the 2009 batch of IFS officers who last year gave a stinging reply to Pakistan Prime Minister at the UNGA, calling him by his full name, Imran Khan Niazi, with a much-obvious reference to Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi who surrendered to the Indian Army in 1971.
Now, from New York to Geneva, UNGA to the United Nations Human Rights Council, not just seasoned diplomats like T.S. Tirumurti, but young guns Mini Devi Kumam, Mijito Vinito, Pawankumar Tulshidas Badhe, Senthil Kumar Subamanian, Vimarsh Aryan and Animesh Choudhury have taken centre-stage, giving sleepless nights to their counterparts from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry. They are no ‘wolf warriors’ but an extremely talented bunch of Indian foreign service officers who talk sense and back it up with solid evidence. India has been giving a befitting reply to Pakistan, thanks mainly to these bright diplomats.
However, India should also be thanking some more individuals for exposing Pakistan globally. Junaid Qureshi, Malaiz Daud, Veronica Ekelund, Anila Gulzar and Amjad Ayub Mirza aren’t foreign service officers but have done a remarkable job in highlighting Pakistan’s double standards on human rights violations and promoting cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri writer and Director of the Amsterdam-based think-tank, European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), while making an intervention at the 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, explained to the world how Pakistan is trying hard to inject the ideology of communalism in the Valley.
“Legally, Pakistan has no locus standi on Jammu & Kashmir. Yet, since the late 1980s, Pakistan’s military establishment has used youth from Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir to join its various terrorist proxies like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Rejection of India was the slogan dictated to these youth. Islamic Caliphate and merger of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan, the aims. Thousands of Kashmiris who did not agree, were killed by these terrorist proxies,” said Qureshi.
“Today, led by its Foreign Minister, Pakistan is demanding a return of the autonomy that Jammu & Kashmir had earlier enjoyed under the Indian Constitution. The same Constitution against which it started this proxy war in which Kashmiris were massacred. Madam President, will Pakistan be allowed to get away just like that? Even after it ruptured our social fabric, ordered the killing of thousands of my fellow Kashmiris, exploited our youth as pawns in its proxy war, and was majorly responsible for getting our autonomy diluted through unleashing its terror-policy? I humbly urge this Council to summon the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for an audit and hold it accountable for the destruction of my homeland,” he added.
A research scholar, Veronica Ekelund went a step ahead and questioned Pakistan’s membership at the United Nations Human Rights Council wondering how a country like Pakistan, a safe haven for terror outfits, can discuss peace on a world forum.
“Talking to CNN in February 2019, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi admitted that UN designated Terrorist and Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Masood Azhar, resides in Pakistan. To BBC in March 2019, Mr. Qureshi confessed that his Government and Jaish-e-Mohammed maintained official contact. In July 2019, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told the US Institute of Peace in Washington that his country hosts 40,000 terrorists. In June 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan referred to Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden as a ‘Martyr’ in the country’s Parliament. Last month, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the presence of UN Designated Terrorist, Dawood Ibrahim on its territory. Madam President, there is no need to elaborate. Pakistani officials have time and again confessed. The country continues to be a safe haven for terrorists and terrorist organizations,” she told the UNHRC.
Ekelund reserved the best for the last.
“The UN Security Council’s consolidated list of terrorist individuals and entities includes 146 entries from Pakistan. With all due respect, I am compelled to ask: Why is Pakistan still a member of this august Council?”
Amjad Ayub Mirza, a rights activist who hails from Mirpur in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and is currently living in exile in Glasgow, also made a presentation at the UNHRC last week.
“The world has turned a blind eye to our history and our ongoing sufferings under the Pakistani occupation. My people are desperate to get freedom from Pakistan and join Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories of India. Today, we are faced with a double colonization of Gilgit Baltistan as China has joined Pakistan under the Belt and Road initiative. A truth and reconciliation commission should be set up to investigate the 1990s genocide of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir committed by Pakistan Sponsored Jihadi Terrorists in collaboration with local Muslim clergy. UN resolutions regarding Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan seem to have become obsolete hence a new approach has become the need of the hour. Therefore, I demand that Pakistan be tried for war crimes and that the world should collectively demand the withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from our lands,” said Mirza.
Malaiz Daud, a former Chief of Staff of Afghanistan’s current President Ashraf Ghani, is a political analyst, a scholar and a researcher with interest in ‘non-violence, social movements, contentious politics, elite, social action and transformation’. On September 24, while speaking at a European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) event on the sidelines of the 45th Session of UNHRC, Daud deliberated upon the presence of ISIS in Pakistan and the region of Jammu & Kashmir.
He argued that ISIS does not have much physical leverage in the region, apart from the perpetration of few sporadic terror attacks. The reason behind that is the fact that the majority of jihadist outfits in J&K are supported by Pakistan and Pakistan remains, for the time being, wary of ISIS because of their global ambitions and the possibility that it might turn against and attack Pakistan itself later on.
A human rights activist from Pakistan, Anila Gulzar, requested the United Nations to intervene and protect minority rights in Pakistan as they have been facing persecution for over seven decades.
“Every year 1,000 minor Christian, Hindu and Sikh girls are kidnapped and forcefully converted and married to their kidnappers. I would like the world to know that a lot of Christians have left Pakistan due to fear of being persecuted by Blasphemy law. They are languishing in Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is no more a safe place for religious minorities to live,” she said while attending the 45th session.
There are several other activists like Qambar Malik Baloch and Nasir Aziz Khan, spokesperson for United Kashmir People’s National Party (UNPNP), who have urged the UN to intervene and force Pakistan to stop the ongoing genocide in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
And, let’s not forget India’s hard-working diplomats who’ve time and again responded to Pakistan’s “mendacious” statements telling the “failed state” to just mind its own business.
Enough food for thought but the big question, unanswered for years, remains the same: Will the UN act against deep state Pakistan, ever?