NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Dr Maleeha Lodhi condemned the double standards shown by the international community in regard to the implementation of international obligations pertaining to prevention of crimes against humanity and protection of civilians in Indian held Kashmir and around the world.
Dr Lodhi, while speaking in the UN General Assembly, raised the issue of mass blinding and the mass killing of innocent residents of Indian occupied Kashmir by Indian forces.
She said, “The tragic victims in occupied Jammu and Kashmir suffer the further indignity of living under an illegal occupation.”
“Against this backdrop, calls for accountability of double standards and selectivity, especially when egregious crimes including killings and mass-blinding are being committed in full view of the international community,” Dr Lodhi added.
“We should neither attempt nor accept any artificial duality between the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality,” the permanent representative further said.
As the killing fields of Gaza were drenched in the blood of over 130 innocent Palestinians, including countless women and children, Ambassador Lodhi said, “The Security Council stood as a silent bystander to the plight of the long-suffering Palestinian people.”
While stressing that the notion of the responsibility to protect stands on more tenuous ground today than ever before, she said that decisions taken by the international community, have in this regard, often failed the test of the highest standards of objectivity and impartiality.
She called on the world body for the implementation of consistent and uniform standards and emphasized collective responsibility to prevent these grave crimes.
“The ‘will’ of the international community, in particular, the permanent members of the Security Council, is crucial”, she said, adding that this was particularly important to address the issue of the permissibility of actions.
This masquerade of political expediency posing as high-flowing idealism, she said, has meant that resultant actions have lacked the legal and moral legitimacy to gain wider acceptability.
The Pakistani envoy said that if we were selective in our approach, expressing indignation at some transgressions while choosing to willfully ignore others, any ‘norm’ would be quickly turned into mere ‘pretense’.
“Against this backdrop, calls for accountability would invariably smack of double standards and selectivity, especially when egregious crimes including killings and mass-blinding are being committed in full view of the international community”, she asserted.
Emphasizing the sanctity of the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality for any action by the Security Council, Ambassador Lodhi criticized instances where in the face of divisions within the Council, unilateral actions have led to situations characterized as ‘illegal but legitimate’.
“We should neither attempt nor accept any artificial duality between the twin imperatives of legitimacy and legality”, she stressed.
Pakistan’s top diplomat also called for renewed commitment in helping states build their capacity including through governance and judicial reforms arguing that in a world beset by growing socio-economic inequalities, situations leading to the responsibility to protect, were more often than not the result of under-development and poverty.
“Long-term commitment by the international community including mobilization of adequate resources for sustainable development and poverty eradication, as also reflected in the 2030 development agenda, is the best investment in prevention”, she added.
The ambassador concluded by remarking that what was needed was a surge in diplomacy, not war, to achieve the goal of preventing grave crimes against humanity.