Statement by Pakistan Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN on Agenda Item 107 "Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism" in the Sixth Committee during 69th Session of the General Assembly New York, (7 October 2014)

Mr. Chairman,

I congratulate you on assuming the chairmanship of this Committee. We are confident that under your leadership this Committee will successfully accomplish tasks assigned to it. I also congratulate other members of the Bureau - Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Italy.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan denounces terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and condemns killings by terrorists anywhere in the world, committed for whatever purpose.

Nothing - no ideology, no religion, no creed, no cause - can justify or sanction the dastardly acts and heinous crimes committed under the banner of terrorism. Terrorists give a twisted interpretation to religions and ideologies to advance their nefarious agenda. But they have no ground to stand on.

Terrorists are criminals, plain and simple. Their crimes must be countered and deterred.

What is most worrying is that terrorism has become more sinister, more lethal, and more complex, as it sits on multiple and sensitive political, sectarian and ethnic fault lines, threatening to unravel delicate civilizational balance.

The United Nations is uniquely positioned to counter this threat through the implementation of its four-pillar Strategy, namely, address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; prevent and combat terrorism; build states’ capacity; and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in the fight against terrorism.

And yet, the monster of terrorism seems to be getting bigger, as it is used as an instrument for asymmetric warfare. The question is: should the UN revamp its strategy to meet this growing challenge?

Mr. Chairman,

For the past several years, Pakistan has fought an unrelenting war against terrorism planted on its soil. In this war, we have incurred huge costs in human life and resources. We have lost more than 50,000 precious lives and incurred financial losses exceeding US $ 100 billion. Denied economic and investment opportunities have been much more.

We know by now that terrorism would be fixed definitively only by pursuing a comprehensive approach and consistent implementation of agreed measures.

Pakistan has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to counter terrorism. The Government last year initiated a dialogue process to give terrorists a chance to lay down their arms and let their misled followers de-radicalize and return to national mainstream. They grossly misjudged our resolve when they used these talks as a ruse to continue their brutal killings. This exposed their nihilistic agenda and evil designs.

Mr. Chairman,

In June this year, Pakistan launched its military operation Zarb-e-Azb to flush out terrorists hiding in the North Waziristan Agency and neutralize them. The operation is continuing successfully. Several hundred terrorists, including foreign operatives, have been taken out; IED and munitions factories destroyed; huge cashes of arms and communication equipment disabled. Vast swathes of land have been cleared. Terrorists’ hideouts and networks have been dismantled and their command and control system has been degraded.

In order to prevent retaliation by terrorists across the country, an Intelligence operation has led to the interdiction, apprehension and killing of scores of terrorists. Complete success would, however, require complementary measures from across the western side of our border.

We are proud of the sacrifices of our valiant soldiers who have laid down their lives and sustained injuries to cleanse our soil of terrorism.

The Government has taken measures to ensure that the temporarily dislocated population as a result of these operations receives adequate relief.

Mr. Chairman,

In our effort to counter violent extremism, we have focused on review of education curricula, propagation of counter-narratives to extremist ideology through the media and seminars, economic development of areas at risk, employment generation and skill development for youth, and loans for young entrepreneurs.

We are building capacity of our prosecutors, police officials and judges dealing with cases of terrorism to ensure that our counter-terrorist measures are rooted in the rule of law and conform to our international obligations.

On the legislative side, Pakistan has undertaken sweeping reforms to amend Anti-Terrorism Act. Our Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation now fully corresponds with global standards. We have also enacted Pakistan Arms Ordinance, Surrender of Illicit Arms Act, Terrorists Special Courts Act, Anti-Narcotics Force Act, the Pakistan Madrasah Education Ordinance and the Anti-Money Laundering Bill. Pakistan is party to eleven universal and two regional counter-terrorism instruments.

Mr. Chairman,

The international community agrees that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, faith, race, ethnicity, value system or culture. We therefore believe that the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy should address the defamation of certain religions and demonization of their communities that act as incitement to hatred. A dialogue among civilizations is an absolute imperative to prevent divergences in attitudes and thoughts from becoming fodder for the terrorist ideologies.

At the same time, urgent and focused attention is required to address festering disputes and unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation and denial of the right of self-determination. The political and economic injustices create polarization and fuel animosities.

We must also ensure that the measures we take to counter terrorism remain within the framework of international law. It is important to maintain a distinction between the just and unjust causes; because injustice breeds hostility and violent reactions.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan fully supports the OIC position on a consensus-based Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). The proposed Convention must be consistent with the International Humanitarian Law and it should clearly differentiate between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggles for self-determination of people living under foreign occupation.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan remains committed to fully implementing the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions related to counter-terrorism, including the recently adopted Security Council resolution on 'Foreign Terrorist Fighters'.

The UN Centre of Counter Terrorism has made considerable progress in a short period. We assure it of our full cooperation. Pakistan also supports the laudable efforts being made by the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).

Finally, Pakistan has demanded cessation of drone strikes in our border areas. These strikes violate our sovereignty and the established principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. The drone strikes are counter-productive for the efforts aimed at countering violent extremism. Moreover, the Government of Pakistan is already taking decisive action against terrorists in those areas.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.