Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday called India as a state sponsor of hatred and prejudice against Islam, reports AP.
He denounced India’s moves to cement control of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Khan came up with the remarks while speaking at the annual UN gathering of world leaders.
He also said that Islamophobia prevails in India and threatens nearly 200 million Muslims who live there.
“They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens,” he said in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly, which is being held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Khan has frequently criticized the August 2019 decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strip Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, scrap its separate constitution and remove inherited protections on land and jobs.
Residents of the heavily militarized Indian-controlled region of Kashmir say security forces have arrested thousands of young men, raided people's homes, inflicted beatings and electric shocks, and threatened to take away and marry their female relatives.
Thousands of protesters over the past year have been wounded by shotgun pellets, including hundreds blinded in one or both eyes. For seven months, until March, the area was under a communications blackout, with social media and internet access banned.
“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 said.
India responded by calling Khan's remarks “a new low” in diplomacy.
“We saw lies, misinformation, warmongering and malice spread through this assembly,” Mijito Vinito, a diplomat with India's UN mission.
Two countries traded barbed rebuttals in the assembly hall Friday night.
Vinito retorted later: “The leader of Pakistan today called for those who incite hate and violence to be outlawed. But, as he went on, we were left wondering, was he referring to himself?"
The larger Kashmir region is split between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the territory.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India. Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.
Khan, as he did in his speech before the world body last year, also condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries and provocations and incitement “in the name of free speech”, reports Al Jazeera.
“Incidents in Europe, including republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples,” he said.
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo reprinted the Prophet Mohammed caricatures this month that were first published in 2015.
Pakistan PM’s call amid pandemic
Khan also used his speech to call for debt relief for poor nations amid the pandemic.
He said COVID-19 illustrated that “no one is safe unless everyone is safe.” He said lockdown measures by richer countries have triggered a global recession that has hit poor countries the hardest. He touted his government's decision not to impose a wide-scale lockdown, which he said would have led to more people dying of hunger than the virus.
“However, we are still not out of the woods, like no country is out of the woods today,” Khan said.
Modi is scheduled to address the General Assembly in prerecorded remarks today.