03:08 GMT30 October 2020
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    Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called India a state sponsor of Islamophobia in his speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday. As Khan also reiterated his demand of mediation in the Kashmir dispute, it provoked a strong reaction from New Delhi.

    India on Friday hit out at Pakistan for raising the abrogation Jammu and Kashmir's special status at the UN, calling upon Islamabad to stop using the global outfit to advance its “nefarious” agenda against New Delhi. 

    Speaking during India's "Right of Reply" to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the UNGA, India's First Secretary Mijito Vinito said: "What should rather be on the agenda of the UN is Pakistan's deep state and its unrelenting political and financial support to terrorist organisations and mercenaries which are a threat to global peace and security."

    The Indian official also rejected the Pakistan leader's demand for an intervention in the Kashmir dispute, calling the recently carved out Union Territory as an “integral and inalienable part of India”.

    Rebuffing Khan's allegation that Islamophobia (fear of Islam) is state-sponsored in India, Vinito rather highlighted the instances of religious discrimination against minorities in Pakistan.

    "This is the same country that has systematically cleansed its minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions," Vinito said.

    "The only crowning glory that this country has to show to the world for the 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majority fundamentalism and clandestine nuclear trade," he added.

    The Indian representative also sought to highlight the Pakistan's role in fomenting terrorism in the region.

    "This is the same country that has the dubious distinction of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the United Nations," Vinito said.

    The strongly worded statement followed a scathing attack on New Delhi by Khan earlier that day. 

    "The one country in the world today where, I am sad to say, the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India. The reason behind this is RSS ideology that unfortunately rules India today," Khan had said in a pre-recorded address to the 75th UNGA, referring to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - a nationalist parent organisation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs.  

    The Pakistan leader also warned that there could be no peace in the South Asian region until the Kashmir dispute had been properly resolved.

    "The international community must investigate these grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity," Khan demanded in his speech.

    Split between Pakistan and India, the Jammu and Kashmir region is claimed by both the neighbours in its entirety. The two nuclear powers have fought three full-scale wars and conflicts over Jammu and Kashmir since 1947.

    India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the UN General Assembly virtually on Saturday.

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