India blasted Pakistan Monday for using an image of a Gazan girl at the United Nations to illustrate Indian violence in Kashmir, saying the move promoted a “completely false narrative.”
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi held up the photo on Saturday, claiming that it showed a Kashmiri teenage girl whose face bore the marks of Indian pellet gun wounds. “This is the face of Indian democracy,” she said as she held up the picture.
In her reply to Indian FM's speech in UNGA, Amb. Lodhi showed a pic of pellet gun injured women frm Kashmir saying this is the face of India pic.twitter.com/StuG3arPoN
— Pakistan Mission UN (@PakistanUN_NY) September 24, 2017
However, the photo was taken during the summer 2014 war in Gaza and showed 17-year-old Rawya abu Joma’a, who was an alleged victim of an Israeli attack.
“The picture was taken on 22 July 2014 by an American photographer Heidi Levine. This photograph was published by New York Times on March 24, 2015, under the caption ‘Conflict, Courage and Healing in Gaza,'” said Paulomi Tripathi, an Indian UN representative.
“The Permanent Representative of Pakistan misled this assembly by displaying this picture to spread falsehood about India. A fake picture to push a completely false narrative,” she said.
“The Permanent Representative of Pakistan, in her statement, yet again sought to divert attention from Pakistan’s role as the hub of global terrorism. She did so by callously holding up a picture of an injured girl,” Tripathi told the international organization.
Lodhi showed the photo in response to India’s foreign minister’s statement to the UN on Saturday, telling the assembled nations that its neighbor had given the world “terrorists” while India was producing top-notch doctors and engineers.
“Why is it today India is a recognized IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognized only as the preeminent export factory for terror?” Sushma Swaraj told the General Assembly.
“We produced scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists,” she said.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been tense for decades, mainly over Kashmir, which is divided but claimed by both countries in full.
The two nuclear-armed nations have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory.
Ironically, UN organizations have themselves been accused of pushing a false narrative, using fake images to highlight the plight of Gazans.
In a June post to Facebook, on twitter and on its website, UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, used the photo of a girl, whom it identified as “Aya,” claiming that she had suffered from Israel’s blockade of Gaza her entire life.
But the girl in the photo was not Gazan at all, the Israeli watchdog UN Watch said. She was, in fact, Syrian, it charged.
AFP contributed to this report.