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India questions Pak. commitment on ending cross-border terrorism

September 27, 2003

United Nations Sept. 26. In the first major clash at this 58th General Assembly session, India has told Pakistan that its combat against terrorism is based on one per cent intention and 99 per cent pretension.

"This ratio needs to be reversed if Pakistan expects us to take its commitment to end cross-border terrorism against India seriously," the Political Counsellor, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said.

The war of words between the South Asian neighbours started when the Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, using his right of reply, sharply criticised the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for rejecting the "action plan" of the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf.

The Pakistani envoy accused India of being the "mother of terrorism" and lashed out at the ruling BJP as well.

Pakistan has taken serious objection to Mr. Vajpayee's statement at the General Assembly that Islamabad had made a public admission for the first time of sponsoring terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir when Gen. Musharraf offered to encourage a general cessation of violence in Kashmir in return for "reciprocal obligations and restraints". "Pakistan's offer of help to promote a cessation of hostilities within Indian-occupied Kashmir was sadly misconstrued and misinterpreted by the distinguished Prime Minister of India as an admission of guilt," Mr. Akram argued. "This is preposterous."

Mr. Akram said that the "Kashmiri freedom struggle" could not be "denigrated or described as terrorism" going on to charge that India knows all about terrorism.

"It is, to use a popular saying, the mother of terrorism," Mr. Akram said going on to accuse New Delhi of sponsoring terrorism in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

By way of conclusion, Mr. Akram said it was Pakistan's hope that "cooler heads — if there are any — in New Delhi will prevail" and there would be a positive response to the Gen. Musharraf's offer.

`Pak. creating political fiction'

Exercising its right of reply, the Indian delegate stressed that the U.N. forum was one of offering views and not abuse. "Pakistan has been making desperate efforts to create political fiction about its anti-terrorist credentials. This is not surprising for a country whose history and policies have been rooted in political fiction," Mr. Shringla said.

"...In our experience, Pakistan's combat against international terrorism is based on one per cent intentions and 99 per cent pretensions," he said.

Mr. Shringla also reminded Pakistan that "they cannot hope to pursue the goal of `enlightened moderation' without demonstrating some sign of moderate enlightenment while dealing with serious issues of peace and stability. As we do not wish to reciprocate Pakistan's diplomacy of abuse and hate, we would not take up further issue with the egregious comments of the representative of Pakistan."

Pakistan came back again with yet another right of reply when a deputy to Mr. Akram once again accused India of resorting to a "sophisticated strategy of claiming to be a victim of terrorism" and that none of these claims have been substantiated.

The official repeated that the Indian intelligence agencies were behind the "well crafted" terrorist incidents and maintained that the terrorist incident at Chattisingpora in March 2000 on the eve of the former U.S. President, Bill Clinton's trip to India was the handiwork of the renegade elements of the Indian intelligence agencies. "State terrorism is the worst form of terrorism," he said.

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