Pakistan aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Terrorism and violent extremism have emerged as among the most complex and imposing challenges of our time. Terrorism has claimed innocent lives, caused wide scale destruction, undermined social stability as well as disrupted state structures.
Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for the killing of innocent people anywhere whatever the pretext that may be invoked.
Pakistan has been the principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad. We have lost more than 60, 000 lives; many more have been injured.
But these losses have not diminished my country’s commitment to fight this menace. It has only reinforced our will to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated from the country.
Pakistan has adopted a multipronged strategy, which involves a military-led law enforcement campaign and a comprehensive National Action Plan against terrorists.
Zarb-e-Azb, is the largest and most effective counter-terrorism operation against terrorists anywhere in the world. The operation has deployed 200,000 of our security forces. It has made remarkable progress in cleansing the country of terrorists and will conclude only when our objective has been accomplished.
Our 20-point National Action Plan focuses as much on countermeasures as on preventive approaches. At the same time, we have adopted an “all of society” approach that focuses on the rule of law, promotion and protection of human rights and social, political and economic empowerment of youth and women. These are longer-term measures, but their dividends are already evident.
Notwithstanding these national efforts, terrorism is far from being defeated across the world. The international community has created numerous structures, taken tougher measures and invested billions of dollars in this fight. Yet, terrorism has continued to expand and morph into more dangerous forms. We need to ask why.
An important factor in the post 9/11 decade has been the international community’s inability or unwillingness to “address conditions conducive to terrorism”. And when it did focus attention on a preventive approach to terrorism, this shifted to mainly local factors, as if terrorism has no transnational dimensions and is merely a local phenomenon.
Let me point to some of the gaps in the international approach.
Some of the points I have made also explain why, in our negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism, we have not been able to agree on a precise definition of terrorism.
Pakistan supports concluding the draft CCIT by consensus. The provisions of the draft convention should clearly distinguish between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggles for self-determination of peoples living under foreign occupation. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) related questions within the Convention’s ambit need to be addressed in IHL language.
These obvious legal requirements, also advocated by the OIC, seem to have got no traction from some countries, who seek to use the international narrative against terrorism as justification for their suppression of people struggling for their right to self-determination, casting these legitimate movements as terrorist.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate, Pakistan is fully committed to cooperate and collaborate with the international community in our joint struggle against terrorism. But we must also address the root causes that I have identified as well as the now well-acknowledged drivers of radicalization that lie in economic and social marginalization and exclusion. Without talking a holistic approach, we will be fighting symptoms and not the underlying causes of the disease itself.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.