Musharraf goes ballistic on J&K
12 September 2002
New Delhi: A bellicose and martial Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday spewed venom against India and the chauvinism of its extremist Hindu parties in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, inviting instant contempt and condemnation from New Delhi. Choosing to use the presence of a universal gathering of world leaders here to make his case Gen Musharraf accused India of delegitimising the Kashmiri struggle. In what is unlikely to impress the global community, the General said, ''Missing the rationale of the war against terrorism, India has sought to delegitimise the Kashmiri freedom struggle, tarnish Pakistan with the brush of terrorism and drive a wedge between its coalition partners.'' ''India''s belligerence,'' the General charged, also reflects the chauvinistic ideology of the Hindu extremist parties and organizations. Rising Hindu fanaticism has targeted Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and even the untouchable Hindus. Referring to Gujarat, Gen Musharraf demanded that the international community act to oppose Hindu extremism with the same determination it displayed in combating terrorism, religious bigotry, ethnic cleansing and fascist tendencies elsewhere. The General''s words seared through New Delhi''s heart, with External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao striking back with the observation that the address showed the utter paralysis within the decision-making apparatus of Pakistan, a country that has abandoned democracy and yet makes noises about freedom and self-determination. Gen Musharraf, defying international consensus on the need for free and fair elections in J&K said, India''s planned elections in Kashmir will once again be rigged. Such elections, under Indian occupation, will not help peace; they may set it back. The people of Jammu & Kashmir must be allowed to exercise their right to determine their own future in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. This comment drew a caustic response from India, with Ms Rao wondering how, the very state that seeks to stagnate the democratic aspirations of its people stood before the United Nations today to cast aspersions against the democratic process in J&K and the holding of elections there, a process which the entire world with the sole exception of Pakistan has welcomed. The General also decided to use the attention of a huge world gathering to present his assessment of the terrorist threat to Islam, expressing Pakistan''s distress over the fact that some quarters are utilizing the war against terrorism as a vehicle to spread hatred against Islam. Ms Rao said, Pakistani rulers have always sought to conjure up the image of an external threat to wish away the rot that engulfs the Pakistani polity. Let there be no mistaking the fact that it is Pakistan that has embraced bellicosity and hostility to India as its very reason for its existence and this was transparently clear today. With such a provocative speech from the Pakistani President at a multilateral forum like the UNGA further freeze is bound to set into India- Pakistan relations. Expressing disgust with the Generals treatment of an international platform like the UNGA, Ms Rao said, The Pakistani leadership does not understand the conduct of diplomacy and international relations based on maturity, restraint, and democratic dialogue.