Sixth Committee Speeches & Interventions

Statement by Mr. M. Akram Zaki, Pakistan’s Delegate to the Sixth Committee 59th UN General Assembly on Agenda Item: 148, “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism” on 19 October 2004

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to congratulate you on assuming the Chairmanship of this Committee. We are confident that under your able stewardship the Committee would be able to make progress in dealing with the issues before it during the 59th Session of the General Assembly.

2. We have noted the report contained in document A/C.6/59/L.10, by Mr. Rohan Perera, Chairman of Working Group on the discussions earlier this month from 4 - 8 October, about the two draft conventions on terrorism, the Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the Draft Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. We have also noted the report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 on its meeting held from 28 June to 2 July 2004 contained in document A/59/37. We have also taken note of the Report of the Secretary General contained in document A/59/210 and its corrigendum. We are grateful to the Secretary General for his report on ‘Strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance in preventing and combating terrorism’ contained in document A/59/187.

3. We have noted the efforts of the Working Group to reach consensus on the difficult issues confronting the Sixth Committee while trying to elaborate the two draft conventions against terrorism. We believe that agreement on these two conventions would be facilitated by arriving at a consensual definition of terrorism.

4. We have noted the recommendation of the Working Group that work continue with the aim of finalizing the texts of the two draft conventions, building upon the work already accomplished. We have also noted the call to states by the Security Council made in OP-5 of its resolution 1566 (2004) adopted earlier this month to ‘cooperate fully on an expedited basis in resolving all outstanding issues with a view to adopting by consensus’ the two draft conventions.

5. We are encouraged by the report of the coordinator that there was a ‘renewed willingness to provide fresh impetus to the negotiations’ and to consider alternative solutions, particularly on article 18 of the Draft Comprehensive Convention. We share the view that the ‘central role of the General Assembly in the elaboration of instruments against terrorism must be stressed, even though other principal organs of the Organizations were seized of questions concerning terrorism’, as reported in paragraph 7 of the Coordinators’ report (contained in Annex to document A/C.6/59/L.10).

Mr. Chairman,

6. Pakistan remains concerned about the increasing acts of terrorism all over the world, including the recent terrorist attacks in several Pakistani cities and other parts of the world. These terrorist attacks remind us of our collective vulnerability.

7. Terrorism is condemnable in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism. Pakistan has long been a victim of terrorism. Thousands of innocent civilians as well as many law enforcement officials have made the ultimate sacrifice in our common struggle against terrorism. Terrorist attacks have also been made at the lives of our President and Prime Minister.

8. However, we remain undeterred in our conviction to fight terrorism and the terrorist threat. Pakistan is proud to be in the forefront of this fight. Our counter terrorism efforts continue on various fronts both domestic and international. We have taken a number of measures to strengthen our domestic legal and administrative framework. We have signed or ratified 11 out of 12 UN Conventions and Protocols against terrorism. We are also in process of further strengthening our financial mechanisms to prevent financing of terrorism. We have banned a number of extremist organizations and the activities of others are being closely monitored. Recently Pakistan launched large scale operations in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan against terrorists, extremists and other criminals. As a result of our efforts, a number of terrorists have been captured or arrested including about 600 Al Qaida operatives.

9. As a member of the Security Council, Pakistan is contributing actively to the work of the Counter Terrorism Committee, Al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee and the 1540 Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

10. Extremism and intolerance are important preludes to terrorism. We need to step up our efforts to enhance harmony and understanding among the peoples, at national and international level, to guard against extremism and intolerance.

11. Our struggle against terrorism cannot be successful unless and until we adopt a comprehensive strategy. It is high time we begin earnest efforts to ensure terrorism is combated in all its aspects. We should address situations which lead to extremism and ultimately terrorism. The international community must ensure international rule of law and justice and redouble its efforts to resolve long standing international disputes. It should focus its efforts on addressing the root causes of terrorism to find a lasting solution to the terrorist threat.

12. The General Assembly passed several resolutions from 1972 to 1989, which reflected the vision that terrorism could be prevented only by tackling the underlying causes which give birth to terrorism. This was very clear from the title of the resolution passed on December 18, 1972.

“No.3034 (XXVII) Measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardizes fundamental freedom, and study of the underlying causes of those forms of terrorism and acts of violence which lie in misery, frustration, grievance and despair and which cause some people to sacrifice human lives, including their own, in an attempt to effect radical changes.”

13. The subsequent resolutions till Resolution 44/29 of December 4, 1989 retained the same title and reiterated that it was necessary to solve the underlying causes.

14. The General Assembly also took a bold stand against state terrorism and passed Resolution 39/159 on December 17, 1984. It stressed the inadmissibility of the policy of state terrorism and reaffirmed the right of self-determination and independence of the people.

15. We must revert to this vision which has become blurred since the end of cold war and especially since the terrible tragedy of 9/11. The need to address the underlying causes of terrorism cannot be ignored. Any comprehensive definition of terrorism will need to include the phenomena of state terrorism and distinguish it from the right of self-determination.

16. The international community should also continue its efforts to address other political and socio-economic issues including developmental issues, and HIV/AIDS.

17. We should expedite efforts to arrive at a consensual definition which maintains a distinction between terrorism and the right of peoples for self determination and to resist foreign occupation and alien domination. Such a definition would lend legal clarity to our common struggle against terrorism and prevent its abuse and the violation of human rights or other norms of international law including international humanitarian law.

18. Finally, I would like to mention here the two pronged strategy of Enlightened Moderation to overcome terrorism and prevent a clash of civilizations proposed by President Musharraf and endorsed by the last Islamic Summit in Malaysia. The plan involves, on the one hand, internal socio-economic reform in the Muslim world and, on the other, active support from the major powers to ensure political justice and socio-economic revival for all Islamic peoples.

19. I would reiterate President Musharaf’s call to the major powers of the West that he made in his statement to the General Assembly this year, ‘to show movement, by seriously trying to resolve internationally recognized disputes affecting the Muslim world’.

Mr. Chairman,

20. We believe if we all determine to work in a cooperative and harmonious way, we can secure our world’s future.

Thank you.