Pakistan has lodged an official complaint with the United Nations, demanding the removal of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra as a UN goodwill ambassador over her “support for war” amid heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
In a letter to the UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore, Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari accused the 37-year-old actress and former Miss World of publicly endorsing the position of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Earlier this month, the Indian government revoked the partial autonomy of the Muslim-majority region and imposed an unprecedented security lockdown and communications blackout, saying it feared protests.
“Her jingoism and support for violations by the Modi government of international conventions and UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, as well as support for war, including a nuclear war, undermines the credibility of the UN position to which she been elevated,” Mazari said in the letter shared on her Twitter account on Wednesday.
“Unless she is removed immediately, the very idea of a UN goodwill ambassador for peace becomes a mockery globally,” the letter added.
Sent letter to UNICEF chief regarding UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace Ms Chopra pic.twitter.com/PQ3vwYjTVz
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 21, 2019
Chopra, who was appointed a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 2010 and 2016, recently came under fire over a tweet she posted in February amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region.
At a cosmetics event in the US city of Los Angeles earlier this month, Chopra was confronted by a US citizen of Pakistani origin in the audience, who called her a “hypocrite” for “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan”.
In the video of the confrontation that was posted on Twitter and widely shared, Ayesha Malik is heard saying: “It was kind of hard hearing you talk about humanity, because as your neighbour, a Pakistani, I know you are a bit of a hypocrite, because you tweeted on February 26, ‘Jai Hind [Hail India] #IndianArmedForces””.
"You are a UNICEF ambassador for peace, and you're encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan."
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra was confronted by a Pakistani-American woman, who called her a "hypocrite" over her pro-army tweet. pic.twitter.com/uJwqVJALes
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 13, 2019
Chopra had posted that tweet soon after Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistani territory, conducting air raids that resulted in an escalation in hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The Indian raids followed a suicide attack in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama earlier that month. India blamed Pakistan for the February 14 suicide bombing, a charge the latter denied.
Responding to Malik at the cosmetics event, Chopra said she was not fond of war but called herself “patriotic”.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory of Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of since gaining independence from the British in 1947.
A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir over the past 30 years has left tens of thousands of people dead.
India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, which gave special rights to the Muslim-majority state, has worsened already fraught relations with Pakistan.
In response to the move, Pakistan’s parliament decided to cut trade with India, downgrade diplomatic ties, and suspend bus and train services.