ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday responded to India’s election as a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council by calling for accountability for its actions and vowing to work with other members for regional peace and security.

“Indian actions in IOJ&K and beyond are fundamental negation of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. India is a consistent violator of the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir dispute. Rather than felicitated, a country with such credentials must be held accountable,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said at the weekly media briefing as she greeted the three other newly elected members — Ireland, Norway and Mexico — on their success in the elections.

The UN members had on Wednesday elected Mexico, India, Ireland and Norway for a two-year tenure as the non-permanent members of the Security Council in elections held in New York. The election for the fifth upcoming vacancy on the council from Africa region ended in a tie between Kenya and Djibouti — none of whom could get the minimum of 128 votes. There would now be a second round between the two nations.

The five newly elected members would start their tenures on the 15-member council, which has 10 seats for non-permanent members, from Jan 1, 2021. It will be India’s eighth tenure at the council. It last held the seat for the 2010-12 term.

Shireen Mazari says ‘question for Pakistan is why we ensured no one else from region contested’

Ms Farooqui said: “Pakistan will be working with rest of the members of the Security Council in advancing the objectives of international peace and security in South Asia and beyond.”

India was last year endorsed by the loosely coordinated Asia-Pacific Group as there was no other candidate from the region. Pakistani diplomats say they did not throw spanners in India’s run for the council as a respect for the longstanding tradition of the two South Asian rivals not taking each other on in the UN elections.

Pakistan had defeated India in the only direct contest they had for a UNSC seat back in 1970s after eight grueling rounds. Since then this tradition of no direct contest has existed.

Pakistani diplomats did not see any value in breaking the tradition, especially in view of its own plans to run for a Security Council seat in June 2024. Islamabad is eyeing the regional group’s endorsement for its candidature in 2023.

The strategy, therefore, deemed more feasible was that of questioning India’s credentials as a council member.

Pakistan would, therefore, be more often seen pointing out India record on non-implementation/violation of UN resolutions, the human rights abuses, and its actions hurting regional stability.

FO spokesperson too pointed towards these aspects in her statement.

India, she said, was flouting the UNSC resolutions for a UN-supervised plebiscite in Kashmir; committing gross and systematic violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir, which have been documented by international organisations including Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; illegally altering the demographic structure of IOJ&K in violation of multiple UNSC resolutions and international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention; and perpetuating massive violations of human rights against its minorities, in particular Muslims, threatening them with statelessness.

In this regard, she referred to destruction of the Babri Masjid; enactment of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA); initiation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process; and the targeted killings of Muslims in repeated pogroms in Mumbai (1993), Gujarat (2002) and New Delhi (2020).

Ms Farooqui said India because of militarisation and “unbridled” hegemonic ambitions has routinely tried to coerce its neighbors. “It has employed terrorism, at one time or another, as state policy to destabilise every neighboring state. It has border disputes with all of its neighours,” it added.

The spokesperson described India “5-S approach” in the UN Security Council as merely a smoke-screen for masking its “arrogant, belligerent and confrontationist” side. “Perhaps India would do well to consider another “S” i.e. Satya or truth: The truth of Indian oppression, aggression and occupation, which cannot be covered up by false espousals,” she maintained.

The spokesperson, meanwhile, congratulated Amb Volkan Bozkir of Turkey on his election as the President of the 75th session of United Nations General Assembly.

‘Quasi political legitimacy’

Meanwhile, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Thursday said India being elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) gives its actions — against Kashmir, Pakistan, China, and Nepal — a “quasi political legitimacy”.

In a series of tweets, Ms Mazari said India had won the seat with a whopping 184 votes in favour. “Question for Pakistan is why we ensured no one else from region contested,” she asked on Twitter. “There was a contest on the African seat. Why did we agree to Indian nomination made much earlier?” she continued.

“What is very disturbing is the number of votes India managed to get,” the minister added.

The minister said it was concerning that the move came when India has illegally annexed Kashmir, was constantly attacking Pakistan “daily”, with unprovoked firing across the Line of Control (LoC), the violent face-off with China where it lost more than a dozen soldiers, and its conflict with Nepal.

“By letting India win the vote uncontested gives its actions a quasi [political] legitimacy,” she added.

Ms Mazari said all of the aforementioned actions were “in total defiance of international law plus UNSC Resolutions itself” regarding occupied Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2020