January 2002 News

India, Pakistan clash over Kashmir in UN terrorism debate

18 January 2002
The Hindustan Times

United Nations: India and Pakistan traded accusations in a UN Security Council debate on Friday that each was using or supporting terrorist methods in Kashmir. India''s ambassador to the United Nations, Kamalesh Sharma, urged the council to ''make an example'' of any UN member state that tried to justify terrorism. Without naming Pakistan, he said that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad were ''testing the will and resolve of the international community''. Pakistan''s President Pervez Musharraf banned these and three other groups in an address to the nation last weekend, but refused to hand over any Pakistanis included in a list of 20 alleged terrorists drawn up by New Delhi. ''We believe that the existence of, and support to the activities of, terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba is in direct and complete contravention of Resolution 1373,'' Sharma said. The resolution, adopted by the Security Council on September 28, obliges all member states to pass laws and take executive action to deny financing, support and safe harbour to terrorist groups. Neither India nor Pakistan is a council member, but both asked to take part in Friday''s open debate, called to take stock of progress made by the UN''s counter-terrorism committee, set up under Resolution 1373. Sharma''s Pakistani counterpart, Shamshad Ahmad, retorted that his government had taken ''resolute and decisive action'' against terrorism and was determined to ''purge our society of obscurantism and violence''. But, he said, India was ''confusing and obfuscating the issue'' in order to pursue its own political ambitions for regional hegemony. ''Thirteen million people in Indian-held Kashmir are struggling for their freedom against foreign occupation and alien domination,'' Ahmad said. ''Those who employ the state apparatus to trample upon the fundamental and inalienable rights of people are also perpetrators of terrorism,'' he said. Ahmad''s speech went to the heart of the disagreement which has stymied efforts to complete work on a global convention based upon an internationally accepted definition of terrorism. ''While a just cause cannot be ennobled by the killing of innocent civilians, neither can the civilised community of nations condone the use of force for the repression of the legitimate cause of a people,'' he said. Earlier in the debate, Syria raised the hackle of US diplomats by accusing Israel of acts of state terrorism against the Palestinians comparable to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11. Israel''s ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Lancry, was due to wind up the debate as the last of 47 scheduled speakers later in the day.


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