After the G20 Summit, the 14th ASEAN-India Summit in Vientiane, the war of words between India and Pakistan at the highest level with hitherto unheard decibel levels, is all set to reach the United National General Assembly in New York. It opens on September 13, and will lead to a UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on September 19.This year’s general debate will open on September 20 and will run through to September 26, when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the annual high-level debate. The theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world”.On Friday night, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it known that he would raise at the UN the issue of India’s ‘excessive use of force’ in the strife torn Kashmir valley.India would be represented by the Ms. Swaraj as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving it a skip. Mr. Modi will be absent for the session for the first time in three years and there has been no elaboration from New Delhi as to why PM is letting go an opportunity which will see presence of over 150 heads of state or government.In his speech at UNGA last year, Mr. Modi had made a strong pitch for UN reforms, saying, “We must reform the United Nations, including its Security Council, so that it carries greater credibility and legitimacy.”
This year’s general debate will open on September 20 and will run through to September 26, when Ms. Swaraj will address the annual high-level debate.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to attend the general debate and address global leaders on September 21. Among the other neighbours of India, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena would be there.Obviously India won’t allow Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir at the UN uncontested though it is not clear yet how and at what level.On Friday in Islamabad, the Pak premier presided over a preparatory meeting ahead of his New York visit. A brief statement by his office said Mr. Sharif was given a detailed briefing on matters pertaining to the national security by Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi, National Security Advisor Lt. General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry.Islamabad and New Delhi have been engaged in ugly spat at every conceivable forum since the alleged encounter death of ‘Hizbul poster boy’ Burhan Wani on July 8 in Anantnag, which triggered unrest in the Kashmir valley.A new dimension got added after Mr. Modi weaved into his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort issues related to Pak-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit and alleged human rights violations by the Pakistani forces in the Balochistan Province.Early this week, after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi indirectly hit out at Pakistan at the 14th ASEAN-India Summit in Vientiane (Laos) on Thursday, Islamabad launched a counter offensive saying, “India is financing terrorism in Pakistan and open evidences are available on its involvement in subversive activities.”The Pakistan state run news agency-Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) quoted the Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria as saying at his weekly briefing that “One single nation was spreading terrorism in South Asia…India was in fact that single nation.”Ironically, it was just play of words as the Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson repeated the exact words of Mr. Modi at the G20 Summit in China. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup in a series of tweets on Modi at G20 had said, “Terrorist is a terrorist. One single nation in S.Asia is spreading agents of terror in our region. Isolate & sanction supporters of terrorism. Urge international community to act in unity & respond against terrorism.”APP report said, “When asked if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of Kalbhushan Yadav at the upcoming UN General Assembly session, the Spokesman said “the issue of Indian involvement would definitely be highlighted…because of its direct links with incidents of terrorism in Pakistan.”On Wednesday the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Kashmir Awais Leghari briefed the ‘international community’ in Geneva on the alleged human rights violations by the India in Kashmir.Leghari is one of the 22 members of parliament nominated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on August 27 to travel to different world capitals to lobby for the `Kashmir cause’.”Pakistan can write as many letters as they want to the United Nations but this will not change the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup at his last weekly briefing here.Unconnected to the UNGA, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is travelling to US on a week-long trip from September 25 to attend the Homeland Security dialogue.Mr. Singh is likely to raise the issues of Pakistan-sponsored terror and fake currency originating through Pakistan’s connivance with U.S officials and will press for action.India and the U.S. have been working on this arrangement since 2013.It certainly can’t be a coincidence that even as Mr. Sharif has begun his homework for the UNGA, the provincial Punjab government in Pakistan has called in the para-military Rangers to conduct an operation against banned outfits in ‘designated areas’.According to the provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah, the government, after the recent Quetta hospital attack, has decided that Rangers should assist the anti-terror force in Punjab against terrorists, banned organisations and their facilitators.Talking to BBC Urdu, Mr. Sanaullah said the paramilitary force was being called in Punjab for ‘designated areas’ and a ‘specific timeframe’.