Saturday, September 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Vajpayee unmasks Musharraf’s duplicity
India determined to end cross-border terrorism
Hari Jaisingh

United Nations, September 13
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee demolished Pakistan’s continuing duplicity in promoting cross-border terrorism and warned that nuclear blackmail had emerged over the last few months in the South Asian region as a “new arrow in the quiver of State-sponsored terrorism.”

Without naming Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, Mr Vajpayee said dark threats were held out that actions by India to stamp out cross-border terrorism could provoke a nuclear war. “To succumb to such blatant nuclear terrorism would mean forgetting the bitter lessons of the September 11 tragedy,” he reminded the 190-member assembly in his incisive and forceful address to the United Nations here today.

In a point-by-point but measured critique of General Musharraf’s diatribe and the falsehood sought to be perpetrated by him either about Jammu and Kashmir or that the BJP is whipping up Hindu fundamentalism, Mr Vajpayee emphasised that absolutely everyone in India wants an end to the cross-border terrorism which has claimed thousands of innocent lives and denied entire generations their right to a peaceful existence with normal economic and social activity.

“We are determined to end it (cross-border terrorism) with all the means at our command. Let there be no doubt about it in any quarter,” the Prime Minister declared.

On General Musharraf making the extraordinary claim in the UNGA yesterday that the brutal murder of innocent civilians in Jammu and Kashmir was actually a “freedom struggle,” and the forthcoming assembly elections there are a farce since they cannot be a substitute for a plebiscite demanded over 50 years ago, Mr Vajpayee observed it requires an effort of “logical acrobatics” to believe that the carnage involving innocents was an instrument of freedom and elections were a symbol of deception and repression.

Mr Vajpayee asked if elections were a mere fraud, then why were terrorists being trained and infiltrated into India at the command of the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan to kill candidates and to intimidate voters?

He emphasised if Pakistan claimed to be a crucial partner in the international coalition against terrorism, how it could continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India.

He failed to understand how the international coalition could condone Pakistan-directed killings of thousands of innocent civilians — women and children included — to promote a bizarre version of “self determination.”

Mr Vajpayee stressed that those who spoke of “underlying” or “root” causes of terrorism, offered alibis to the terrorists and absolved them of responsibility for their heinous actions — such as the September 11 attacks on the USA or the December 13 attack on Indian Parliament.

The Prime Minister declared: “General Musharraf has himself admitted that rigging was responsible for his winning the referendum by a dubious margin of 90 per cent in April this year. As per the ‘true’ democracy he intends to establish in Pakistan, he has rendered it impotent even before the elections are held next year.”

“Those who had to adjust voting and counting procedures to win a referendum — and achieved constitutional authority by the simple expedient of writing their own constitution — are ill placed to lecture others on freedom and democracy.”

Referring to another patently false and self-serving claim of General Musharraf that in India, Muslims and other minorities were the target of “Hindu extremists,” Mr Vajpayee drew pointed attention to the fact that India had the second largest Muslim population of 150 million in the world, more than in Pakistan.

He said India was proud of the multi-religious character of its society. “Equal respect for all faiths, and non-discrimination on the basis of religion is not just our constitutional obligation. As the whole world knows, it is the signature tune of our civilisation and culture.”

Thereafter, he focused on the developmental divide between the North and the South becoming wider and deeper by the day. The challenges facing humankind are stark and there is no alternative to all the countries of the world joining hands to face them together.

Reaffirming India’s offer to coordinate a Comprehensive Global Developmental Dialogue, the Prime Minister said “if we are to achieve the developmental goals we have promised ourselves by 2015, we need such a dialogue urgently.”

Regretting that developed countries lacked political will to sincerely address the legitimate developmental needs of the developing countries, he outlined a four-point agenda to end the systemic indifference towards poverty.

* One, asymmetry in trading relations between developing and developed nations; the problem of declining prices of commodities from developing countries; and all unjustified barriers to their exports must be removed;

* Two, extreme volatility in global energy markets has been causing havoc with the trade and fiscal balances of developing countries. This must end;

* Three, unpredictability in global capital movements, which periodically devastate the economies of developing countries must be controlled;

* Four, malfeasant corporate practices which drain off the natural resources and traditional knowledge base of developing countries without fair compensation must be dealt with sternly.

Mr Vajpayee spoke of the problems caused in poor countries because of the global climate change and the linkages between poverty, trade, environment, national, international and corporate governance and global financial flows.

He said humanity is “crying out for a harmonious integration of the economic, social, political, environmental and spiritual dimensions of development. Underlining the need for “collective multilateralism,” he called upon the United Nations to take up newer and bigger initiatives in this direction.

“Conflicts arise when there is no spirit of democracy within and among nations. A genuinely democratic framework enables us to respect alternative points of view, to value diversity and to fashion solutions responsible to the aspirations of the people.”

He said democratic societies are far less prone to ideologies based on violence or militarist yearnings since they do not have their fingers permanently on the trigger of a gun. “We have to be vigilant against threats to democracy worldwide arising from forces that are opposed to it, be they rooted in fundamentalist political dogmas or extremist religious ideologies.”

Mr Vajpayee said, “most of us are agreed that a stable global order has to rest on the four strong pillars of peace, security, sustainable development and democracy. We have to ensure that each of these pillars is strong and resilient.”



No kid-glove treatment
Tribune News Service

United Nations, September 13
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee firmly believed that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s bluster and blatant falsehood at the UNGA yesterday should be hotly contested and the facts be placed in proper perspective.

“If the record had not been put straight by India, a different message would have gone to the world community about the prevailing ground realities and Pakistan’s intransigence in controlling, stopping or fighting cross-border terrorism,” highly placed sources said.

It is a thing of the past when Mr Vajpayee’s predecessors rarely countered the propaganda dished out by Pakistan’s dictators or civilian heads of government in various international fora.

Clearly, General Musharraf’s all-out attack on India at the UNGA despite the restraint shown by New Delhi all along was so provocative that it needed a measured and straight from-the-hip response to unmask General Musharraf’s double facetedness. Clearly, India did not want General Musharraf to get away with his half and quarter lies.

Even at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in January this year when General Musharraf sought to dismiss cross-border terrorism in J and K as an indigenous freedom movement, Mr Vajpayee was quick to rebut it with all the civility.


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