WASHINGTON: Amid its shrill global campaign about the human rights situation in Kashmir Valley, Pakistan suffered a massive embarrassment on Friday with the disclosure that Gulalai Ismail, a prominent rights activist who was in hiding in Pakistan for several months, has escaped and sought political asylum in the US fearing for her life.
Ismail, 32, fled from Pakistan, where she was in hiding and sought by authorities, and arrived in the US in August. But she went public only this week even as Pakistan is mounting a strident campaign about human rights abuses by India in Kashmir, and New Delhi is saying normalcy is returning and only Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists and subversion will aggravate the situation.
The global community has largely accepted such an assessment despite concerns by some American lawmakers and the civil liberties activists about the human rights situation in the Valley. The Trump administration too signed off on the international effort to reign in Pakistan’s use of terrorism with a statement on Friday that applauded Pakistan prime minister’s “unambiguous & important statement that militants from Pakistan who would carry out violence in Kashmir are enemies of both Kashmiris & Pakistan.”
“We agree. Pakistan’s sustained commitment to counter all terrorist groups is critical to regional stability,” Alice Wells, the State Department pointperson for the region, said implicitly placing the onus of maintaining peace on Pakistan. India has said its action in Jammu and Kashmir did not in any way change its external boundaries.
The mortification of its being called out for human rights abuse within the country amid its hysterical outbursts against India was a subject of both mirth and satisfaction for those who have suffered at the hands of Pakistan and its military intelligence agencies.
“It is sad that Pakistani human rights activists are now fleeing the country like it’s North Korea (and humiliating for the ISI that they make it,)” tweeted Declan Walsh, who reported from Pakistan for the Guardian and the New York Times before he was expelled from the country for his exposes.
“Her ordeal sheds light on the state of human rights in Pakistan, a troubled nation with a history of brutal repression. Her account of being chased out of the country does not help the government’s efforts to win diplomatic support at a time when the economy is tanking and Pakistan is begging the world to censure India for its recent moves on Kashmir,” noted NYT, which reported her presence in Brooklyn, where she has siblings.
Predictably, Pakistani partisans were awash with conspiracy theories about how Gulalai was smuggled out by forces inimical to Pakistan, echoing the words of Prime Minister Imran Khan who has also said recent incidents of rape and killing, of minorities in Pakistan (which Gulalai constantly exposed) was aimed at “defaming Pakistan” before the UN meet.
In Pakistan’s current overwrought narrative that Khan is bringing to New York to air at the UN General Assembly, India is conducting “genocide” in Kashmir and beyond of Muslims and minorities. Inasmuch as the human rights situation in Kashmir Valley is a concern, there are no takers for the hyperbolic allegations against India by a country whose rapacious excesses in Bangladesh in 1970/1971 was actually recognized and recorded as genocide.
Meanwhile, even as Imran Khan and the military establishment that backs him have decided to crank up their high-pitched anti-India campaign in the US, New Delhi is taking the high road, ignoring expected Pakistan’s theatrics at the United Nations to focus on the real business on hand – the climate change issue that is at the center of this year’s UN gathering.
”It is for every country to determine its trajectory of how it wants to approach global platforms… We have seen them mainstream terrorism in the past…now they may want to mainstream hate speech. It is their call….(but) poison pens don’t work for too long,” India’s envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said at a briefing on Thursday.
”They may stoop low, we soar high.” Akbaruddin added.
While Pakistan was choosing a dark and apocalyptic vision for itself, Akbaruddin tweeted a photo of the Gandhi Solar Park in New York which will generate 50 kilowatts of green energy for the UN headquarters and which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi next week.
“When the sun rises over East(river) The @UN will use solar power… Thanks to the Gandhi Solar Park,” Akbaruddin said.
In Video:UNHRC: India raises issue of human rights violations by Pakistan