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8 Oct, 2019 10:34

India accuses Pakistan of ‘weaponizing’ women’s rights for political gain

India accuses Pakistan of ‘weaponizing’ women’s rights for political gain

India has lashed out at Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN for “weaponizing women’s rights issues through empty rhetoric” for political gain in the flashpoint region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The conflict between India and Pakistan received an unexpected platform at the meeting on the Advancement of Women at the United Nations, becoming a subject of verbal sparring between female representatives of the two countries.

When Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s outgoing representative to the UN, took the floor, she spoke of the “plight of women living under occupation” in the disputed region. The diplomat argued the lockdown, imposed by Indian authorities, has exacerbated women’s “pain and suffering.”

To prove her point, she referred to the recent front page photograph from the New York Times depicting a woman who lost her 22-year-old son after he had been bitten by a snake because she couldn’t find an antidote in time to save him. “All actors of the United Nations system must address this dire and unacceptable situation,” she said.

India’s Paulomi Tripathi, the first secretary of the country’s mission to the UN, was quick to hit back. She avoided directly naming Pakistan, saying instead “one delegation has callously chosen to politicize this agenda by making unwarranted references to internal matters of my country.” 

Tripathi then continued: “As they covet territory of others, they camouflage their vile intentions with fake concerns.”

She took a final swipe at Pakistan, saying it is “ironic” that a nation, where “violations of women’s right to life in the name of ‘honour’ go unpunished,” is making “baseless” statements about her country.

The Indian government revoked Kashmir’s autonomy in August and heightened security measures in the area, insisting it would help curb terrorism and lead to more economic development. The change, however, severely angered Pakistan, which claims the whole of Kashmir as its territory and says New Delhi has no right to unilaterally alter its status.

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