Verbal wars and a howler


Indo-Pak hostility sizzles at UN forum




International delegates at global and regional forums must be fed up of the perpetual Indo-Pak animosity which inevitably spills over in these conferences, drawing media and public attention away from the real theme and purpose of a particular meet. History was repeated at the 72nd session of UN General Assembly, whose beneficial leitmotif, ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for all on a Sustainable Planet’, was overshadowed by one of the nastiest and most embarrassing badmouthing yet between the Indian external affairs minister and Pakistan’s permanent representative, which must have left the other 191 delegations holding their heads in despair. No one side can gain anything or come out winner in such slanging matches, as everybody is painfully aware that truth is the first casualty in these cases, and exaggeration their staple diet.

Sushma Swaraj exceeded herself by her air of arrogance, bigotry and superiority, harsh epithets and unforgiving accusations, not even sparing the Quaid-e-Azam, that were repeated ad nauseum by the world and local media. No doubt underlying the barbed vehemence was her party, the BJP and sister organisation, RSS’s, well known historic hostility towards Pakistan and Muslims. But it must also be admitted that the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 1999 Kargil war provided the Indians a high moral ground, while President Trump’s Afghan policy and overtly pro-Indian tilt have given added fillip to Indian intransigence, not to forget the latter’s undeniable economic muscle and sound foreign relations.

Maleeha Lodhi gave a befitting riposte, exposing the hypocrisy of Indian democracy and touching on its raw nerve, the barbarism and atrocities committed on the helpless people of Indian-held Kashmir struggling for self-determination. But in making her point the permanent representative committed an inexplicable and, from the credibility viewpoint, extremely costly gaffe by displaying the shrapnel-marked picture of a young Palestinian victim of an Israeli attack in Gaza, as being that of a wounded Kashmiri, much to the glee of India propagandists. Detailed proper homework and careful vetting of the exhibit was apparently neglected, needlessly damaging our cause before the whole world.