UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Saturday night hit back at India for criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech in the UN General Assembly, saying the Pakistani leader had only put a spotlight on New Delhi’s “indefensible actions” against the Kashmiris and minorities across the country.

“It is obvious that India neither wants to face up to the truth about its abominable policies and actions, nor does it want others to see it,” Pakistani delegate Mohammad Zulqarnain told the 193-member Assembly while responding to an Indian representative, who described Khan’s address as “hate speech.”

“For an ideology seeped in ‘hatred’, the very mention of ‘hate speech’ was outrageous,” he said in his strongly-worded reply.

“True to the ideological progenitors, the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], the [Indian] statement betrayed a sense of conceited self-righteousness, symptomatic of the malady that has become the defining feature of the communal driven face of India,” said Zulqarnain, a second secretary on the Pakistan Mission to the UN.

He called it a “crass attempt at self-glorification by those whose singular accomplishment has been to denude India of any ‘pretence’ to its so-called secular credentials.”

Citing the policy statement of M.S. Golwalkar, one of the founding fathers of the RSS, to turn India into a Hindu country, the Pakistani delegate said: “Today, this ideal of Hindu supremacy is being put into place with single-minded zealousness — with every act of the repugnant assault of cow vigilantes, with every gruesome mob lynching, with every forced conversion, the supremacist RSS ideology is on display even more brazenly.”

“Far from being a so-called ‘vibrant democracy’, this is a living hell for those perceived and treated as the ‘other’ in saffron India.”

“Tellingly,” he said, “those who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 are busy killing the idea of India espoused by him.”

Zulqarnain accused India of obfuscation, deception and diverting attention from ugly ground realities, which was the most familiar page out of the Indian playbook, referring to India’s statement delivered by Vidisha Maitra, a first secretary in the Indian mission.

Zulqarnain said the Indian representative had deliberately avoided making any mention of the “complete and cruel” lockdown including a communication blackout in Kashmir.

“Neither did she mention the plight of the innocent Kashmiris, who for the last 53 days, have been forced to live without food and essential supplies; 53 days without information of the well-being of family and friends; 53 days of total darkness, an abiding fear of the unknown, with no end in sight,” he said.

“We were instead, treated to the fiction that the illegal Indian annexation of the occupied territory was meant to remove hindrances to the ‘development’ of the occupied territory — no doubt, a novel model of development where the relevant stakeholders are not ‘mainstreamed’ but are instead locked up, their voice muffled and their liberties taken away”.

“If indeed, the actions undertaken are so well-meaning to the Kashmiris, I ask the Indian representative why does the Indian state not allow the Kashmiri people to come out and express themselves? Why is India so afraid?”

While exercising her right of reply to Prime Minister Khan’s speech, the Indian representative called Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “threat of unleashing nuclear devastation amounted to brinkmanship, not statesmanship”.