Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Plenary on the Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organization (8th October 2018)

Madam President,

My delegation thanks the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the work of the organization (A/73/1).

The report offers a holistic overview of the complex and fraught global landscape. It also makes a compelling case for collective action to effectively address these challenges.

From the goal of achieving inclusive and sustainable development as set-out in Agenda 2030, to addressing the ‘existential’ threat posed by climate change to lives and livelihoods; from the maintenance of international peace and security to upholding human rights and fundamental freedom, international cooperation is not just needed, it is an imperative of the interconnected world we live in.

As 'a convener of people, a proponent of ideas, a catalyst of action and a driver of solutions', the UN remains indispensable for this. A vibrant and functional UN is also the best bulwark against the rising tide of populism, protectionism and unilateralism, threatening to unravel the very foundations of the international order.

Madam President,

For the UN to remain ‘fit for purpose’ it must keep pace with the rapid pace of change surrounding it; an organization that works in consonance with its environment, not out of sync with it.

To this end, Pakistan welcomes the Secretary General’s initiative to revitalize the United Nations’ capabilities in the realm of Peace and Security, Development and Management sectors.

We are confident that these measures will ensure that issues of overlap and fragmentation are addressed, service delivery standards are enhanced and a more holistic and integrated approach to conflict prevention and sustaining peace is adopted.

In short, the organization will endeavour to become more than a sum of its constituent parts.

At its core, this effort is meant to transform the UN into a more effective, transparent, accountable and efficient body.

These ideals have also guided Pakistan and other like-minded states in advocating a comprehensive reform of the Security Council – a Council that is not only consistent with the democratic spirit of our time, but is also representative of the aspirations of all member states – small, medium and large. Anything less would be regression, not reform; an outcome that we neither seek nor are we prepared to support.

Madam President,

The quest for peace, inclusive development and human rights are intrinsically linked and mutually reinforcing. They can neither be compartmentalized nor pursued in isolation.

As the Secretary General’s report affirms, our collective pursuit of these objectives remains far from accomplished.

Instability continues to afflict many parts of the globe at a time when old divisions have been compounded while new conflicts have emerged.

On the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights, the inalienable right to freedom and dignity remains elusive for millions of people across the world.

As the international community traverses the ambitious pathway of the 2030 Agenda, there are already troubling signs that progress has not been ‘rapid enough’ to achieve all sustainable development goals.

It is time to arrest this slide; it is time to put our words to action.

We must ensure that the prevention-centric agenda of the Secretary General is not merely aspirational, but is firmly embedded as the cornerstone of global peace and security architecture.

We must ensure that the UN development system support is fully aligned with national policies and priorities on poverty eradication, economic growth and sustainable development so that ‘no one is left behind’ in our pursuit to fight poverty, hunger and lack of opportunity.

We must ensure that the fundamental human rights of all individuals are respected, without selectivity or bias.

Through enhanced triangular cooperation, we must ensure that peacekeeping, the UN’s flagship enterprise, retains its pivotal role in bringing hope to the lives of countless millions affected by conflict.

As a major contributor to UN peacekeeping, it is both gratifying and humbling to note that the commitment of Pakistani peacekeepers has contributed to the successful completion of peace missions in Cote d’ Ivoire and Liberia.

As part of our abiding commitment to this cause, Pakistan was also the first country to endorse the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative.

Madam President,

Pakistan considers the establishment of the Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation as a welcome step. It rightfully accords centrality to an oft-neglected but central postulate of the UN Charter – the pacific settlement of disputes under Chapter VI.

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains among the oldest issues on the agenda of the Security Council. It was also one of the earliest applications of Chapter VI of the Charter.

Through its several resolutions, the Security Council has provided the Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite. Regrettably, these resolutions remain unimplemented.

Meanwhile, the Indian occupation continues to commit, with impunity, gross violations of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.

These excesses were documented, in detail, by the June 14 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which speaks of a litany of systematic violations of fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.

While Pakistan seeks a negotiated settlement of all issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, India does not.

The international community must take concrete and meaningful action to alleviate the suffering of the Kashmiri people. As a party to the Kashmir dispute, this is the UN’s longstanding obligation.

Madam President,

Pakistan has been on the frontlines in the fight against terrorism. Our military campaign, involving over 200,000 troops, have crushed and eliminated terrorist groups from our territory. We have paid a heavy price: tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers have been martyred, and many more have been injured. But our commitment to this fight, based on our national resolve, is firm and abiding.

Terrorism is now a global phenomenon, which must be addressed comprehensively and in all its forms, including State terrorism.

It is equally important to address its underlying causes. As the Secretary General reminded us recently, “No one is born a terrorist, and nothing justifies terrorism, but factors such as prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of the rule of law and socioeconomic marginalization can all play a role in transforming grievances into destructive action”.

Extremist ideologies must also be challenged and countered.

Madam President,

Dag Hammarskjold famously said that ‘we are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny, but what we put into it is ours’.

Our destiny is invariably tied to rules-based multilateralism, with the UN at its core.

For the UN is the only avenue where we, as members of the international community, can find solutions that we cannot resolve acting alone.

Working together is therefore, not an option, it is the only choice.

I thank you.