UNITED NATIONS: A top Pakistani diplomat has told the United Nations that Pakistan has “turned the tide” against terrorism through a series of determined actions that led to the destruction of terrorist infrastructures and bases in its tribal areas and along the Pak-Afghan border region.
“Terrorism in Pakistan is an unfortunate by product of the political and geo-strategic developments and foreign interventions in our neighborhood over the past 40 years,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the U.N., told the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which deals with legal matters.
Speaking in a debate on terrorism, Ambassador Lodhi highlighted measures such as a dedicated counter “terrorism force, reform of the criminal justice system, and an across the-board military campaign” the largest anti-terrorism operation anywhere in the world, to destroy terrorist infrastructures and bases in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and Pakistani tribal areas.
Pakistan, she said, had lost over 27,000 citizens and law enforcement personnel to this scourge, with many more injured and maimed for life as well as economic losses of over US$120 billion. “But neither the human nor financial losses have diminished my country’s commitment to fight this menace. It has only reinforced our will to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated from our soil.”
Success of its counter-terrorism operations had resulted in the sharp reduction of terrorist activities across Pakistan over the past two years, she said. Still terrorism continues to posed a challenge, but its nature has changed.
“The threat that we face today is primarily supported and financed from outside our borders,” the Pakistani envoy pointed out. “We are confident that we will be able to defeat these forces too.”
Ambassador Lodhi reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the OIC position on a consensus-based comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The proposed convention must be consistent with international humanitarian law and must clearly differentiate between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggles for self determination of people living under foreign occupation.
“The malicious attempts by those who seek to manipulate the international consensus against terrorism to justify the suppression of people struggling for their right to self-determination must never be permitted to succeed,” she said in an obvious reference to continuing persecution of people in Kashmir and Palestine.
At the same time, she called for urgent and focused attention to addressing the festering disputes and unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation and denial of the right to self-determination. “Political and economic injustice fuels animosities, breeds hostility and often also leads to violent reactions.
“Without a holistic approach, we will be fighting only the symptoms and not the underlying causes of this deadly phenomenon.”
Emphasizing that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, faith, race, ethnicity, value system or culture, the Pakistani envoy also called for addressing defamation of religions and demonization of communities that provoke violent reactions.