Pakistan flashes fake image of ‘pellet gun victim’ to malign India at the UN General Assembly
Pakistan’s attempt to malign India for alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir backfired when its envoy showed a fake image of a “pellet gun victim” in the UNGeneral Assembly.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, while responding to Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s hard-hitting speech branding Pakistan an “exporter of terrorism”, alleged that India had deliberately skirted the “core issue” of Kashmir in the UNGA yesterday.
In the midst of her ‘right to reply’, Lodhi brandished a photo of a woman whose face was peppered with wounds and said, “This is the face of Indian democracy.”
Only, it later emerged, that the so-called “pellet gun victim” was a 17-year-old Gazan woman named Rawya abu Jom, who had been injured by shrapnel during an airstrike by Israeli forces. The picture was taken by photojournalist Heidi Levine in July 2014 when she was covering the Gaza war.
Ergo, the victim had no connection whatsoever with India or the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This barefaced lie notwithstanding, Lodhi went on to call India the “mother of terrorism” in South Asia and accused it of sponsoring terrorism in various parts of her country.
On Saturday, Sushma Swaraj had disparaged Pakistan for of waging a war against India and said a country that was providing succor to terrorists and was responsible for countless human rights violations had the gumption to preach to India about humanity.
“Those listening had only one observation: ‘Look who’s talking!’ A country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium,” Swaraj said.
In response to Swaraj’s piercing charge, Lodhi dramatically waved the pictures of the Gazan victim and tried to pass them off as ‘evidence’ of atrocities on Kashmiris.
Given that such responses are normally given by a low level foreign service official, it was quite significant that the top Pakistani diplomat took up the floor to launch a verbal tirade against India. This makes Pakistan’s blunder with the photo even more glaring and could even be construed as an attempt to mislead the UN about the situation in Kashmir.