India on Tuesday mounted a sharp attack on Pakistan during a virtual meeting of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, accusing it of sheltering and supporting terrorists and pushing a false narrative on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mahaveer Singhvi, joint secretary (counter-terrorism) in the external affairs ministry who led the Indian delegation for the webinar organised by the UN body, pointed out the meeting was being held on a day when the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by a Pakistan-backed terror group 12 years ago and Indians and Afghans were killed.
“It is very unfortunate that a country which perpetrated terrorist attacks in Mumbai (2008), Pathankot (2016), Uri and Pulwama is now preaching to the world community,” Singhvi said in his intervention during the meeting with the theme “The global scourge of terrorism: Assessment of high risk threats and trends including the rise of violent extremism and hate speech in a pandemic environment”.
“While the world is coming together to battle the pandemic, it is unfortunate that Pakistan, a state which sponsors cross-border terrorism, continues to use every opportunity to peddle false narratives and make baseless, malicious and egregious allegations against India and interfere in our internal affairs,” he said, adding that the statement by Pakistan’s representative at the meeting was part of this pattern.
Singhvi added, “Even as Pakistan provides shelter and support to terrorists, it continues to peddle a false and motivated narrative on the situation in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is seeking to portray its military, financial [and] logistical support to cross-border terrorism against India as a freedom struggle. It is also peddling misinformation about India’s domestic legislation and policies.”
The webinar was part of the UN body’s virtual counter-terrorism week, and Singhvi pointed out that terrorists have made innumerable attempts to infiltrate India “from their safe abodes across the border to carry out attacks and have even used unmanned aerial systems to smuggle weapons across our borders”.
At the global level, terrorists have tried to exploit financial and emotional distress caused by the pandemic, and used the increased presence of people online and on social media to disseminate misinformation through hate speech, fake news and doctored videos, he said. Another disturbing trend is the collection of funds by proscribed terror groups ostensibly for charitable activities but which would be used to finance terror, he said.
Singhvi described Pakistan’s statement claiming credit for eliminating al-Qaeda as “ludicrous” and said the group’s founder, Osama Bin Laden, was recently glorified as a “martyr” by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament. “This is a chilling reminder of the patronage that international terrorists receive in Pakistan,” he said.
Khan had publicly acknowledged the presence of up to 40,000 terrorists in Pakistan and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council had reported that about 6,500 Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are operating in Afghanistan, he said.
“Pakistan’s role as epicentre of terrorism has been well documented by numerous international organisations including UN and FATF. Unlike Pakistan, India does not make any distinction between terrorists and invariably condemns terror attacks anywhere in the world, including the one in Karachi, referred to by Pakistan’s representative in his statement,” Singhvi said.
The Indian official also criticised human rights violations in Balochistan, Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the discrimination against religious and cultural minorities.