Sushma Swaraj speech sends Pakistan packing

UN: As expected by many, Pakistan has invoked acclaimed Indian novelist Arundhati Roy to attack External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s UNGA speech where she denounced Pakistan as the “world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.”

“Much of what is in the air in India now is pure terror, in Kashmir, in other places,” Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi said.

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Going deeper into Indian politics, Lodhi also borrowed the standard lines of a section of Indian secularists who describe Prime Minister Narendra and his government as “fascist” and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as a “fanatic”.

Generally speaking, a junior or mid-level diplomat delivers the rejoinders, but in a sign of how much it regards the impact of Swaraj’s speech, Pakistan took the unusual step of sending its permanent representative — one of the the senior-most officials in its diplomatic corps — to exercise its right of reply.

Lodhi repeated the secularist line in India that “a racist and fascist ideology is firmly embedded in Modi’s government and that its leadership is drawn from the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] which is accused of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi.” She slammed Adityanath’s election to head Uttar Pradesh, saying “the government has appointed a fanatic as the Chief Minister of India’s largest State.”

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“It is a government, which has allowed the lynching of Muslims,” Lodhi said.

Lodhi said Pakistan remained open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India but it should include Kashmir and end what she claimed was a “campaign of subversion and state-sponsored terrorism.