–Sushma Swaraj tells UN ‘Pakistan’s commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit’
NEW YORK: India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told the UN General Assembly that the ‘mastermind’ of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity even as the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York met their fate.
“Pakistan’s commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy,” she said in her address to the general debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly.
Sushma described terrorism as an ‘existential threat’ to humanity. “We imagined that the arrival of the 21st century would bring with it an age of common good, defined by cooperation in the quest for peace and prosperity. But here in New York, the horrific tragedy of 9/11, and in Mumbai, the catastrophe of 26/11 became the nightmares that shattered our dreams,” she said.
The fiery speech of Sushma Swaraj comes a day after her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed disappointment on India’s rejection of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of resuming peace talks following the diplomatic snub at the informal meeting of the SAARC foreign affairs ministers in New York.
Sushma said that the ‘demon of terrorism’ now stalks the world, at a faster pace somewhere, a slower pace elsewhere, but life-threatening everywhere. “In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border to the west. Our neighbour’s ‘expertise’ is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity,” she said.
The Indian minister told the world leaders that the most startling evidence of Pakistan’s what she claimed ‘duplicity’ was the fact that Al Qaida founder Osama Bin Laden was given a ‘safe haven’ in the country. Even after the world’s ‘most wanted terrorist’ was killed by American special forces, Pakistan continued to behave as if nothing had happened, she said.
“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,” she said.
Eventually, America’s intelligence services discovered the truth of this hypocrisy, and its special forces delivered justice. “What is heartening is that the world is no longer ready to believe Islamabad,” she said, citing that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Pakistan on notice over terror funding.