Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Agenda Item 108 "Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism" Sixth Committee 70th Session of the UNGA New York, (13-14 October 2015)

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Pakistan delegation, I congratulate you and members of the Bureau on the assumption of your offices. We are confident that you and your team will ably guide the work of this Committee during this session. We assure you of our full support.

Let me start by conveying our profound condolences to Turkey for the tragic loss of lives in the recent terror attack. Pakistan condemns this terrorist attack in the strongest terms.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan rejects and condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for the atrocious crimes committed by terrorists. No interpretation of religion or ideology can justify the dastardly acts of terrorism. It is a crime that needs to be confronted, countered and deterred, comprehensively and effectively.

For more than a decade, the international community has undertaken a range of measures to combat terrorism. Yet it has survived and morphed into more brutal and lethal forms. It continues to exploit sensitive political, ethnic and sectarian fault lines. It seriously threatens harmony among religions and their followers.

Pakistan fully supports the UN's 2006 Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. While progress has been made, more needs to be done especially in addressing the root causes and breeding grounds that lead to the spread of terrorism.

As part of renewed efforts, the strategy should sharpen its focus in countering the unjust defamation of certain religions and communities in the context of the fight against terrorism. The unfair and biased portrayal of Islam and Islamic beliefs is unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue.

Acts of incitement and hate-speech against Muslims not only exacerbate the gulf in attitudes but also foster misperceptions between the Islamic world and the West. We must address these challenges through political, normative and legal measures as also through dialogue and diplomacy.

The international community must address the root causes of terrorism including protracted unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustices, as well as political marginalization and alienation.

During this session, the fifth review of the strategy will provide another opportunity for introspection and evolution of effective measures to counter terrorism comprehensively and effectively.

Mr. Chairman,

Terrorism has both regional and global dimensions. It is imperative that all countries do more to combat this menace. Terrorism is a common threat. It requires a cooperative framework. It should not become an instrument to shift blame on to others.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism remains unwavering. We have lost tens of thousands of lives to terrorism. But the blood that has been shed – including that of our innocent children – has reinforced our resolve to eliminate this scourge from our society.

Pakistan has adopted a multipronged strategy envisaging a comprehensive National Action Plan and a military-led law enforcement operation, Zarb-e-Azab, against terrorists.

Zarb-e-Azb, is the largest anti-terrorism campaign against terrorists anywhere, involving 180,000 of our security forces. It has made substantial progress in cleansing my country of terrorists and will conclude only when our objective has been accomplished. We will continue to fight terrorism whether sponsored by militant fanatics or any external power.

Considerable progress has been made in countering violent extremism under the all-inclusive National Action Plan announced in December 2014. This has encompassed police and security actions, political and legal measures and social and economic policy packages aimed at countering violent extremism. Many of these are being further strengthened.

Mr. Chairman,

In addition to these measures, Pakistan has also focused on propagation of counter-narratives to extremist ideology, economic development of areas at risk, employment generation and skill development for youth, and loans for young entrepreneurs. Significant work has been undertaken in improving legislation. Our legislation on Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) now fully corresponds with global standards.

We are building the 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. In these efforts, we are benefitting from useful collaboration and cooperation with UN agencies, in particular the UN CTITF (Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force), UN Counter Terrorism Center and UN CTED (Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate).

Mr. Chairman,

At the international level, Pakistan continues to support efforts aimed at promoting inter-religious harmony with a view to preventing existing differences, which can be exploited by terrorist propaganda. We must reject the association of terrorism with any religion, faith, race, ethnicity, value system or culture.

It is essential that acts to counter terrorism should remain within the framework of international laws. We call for cessation of drone strikes in our border areas as they violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr. Chairman,

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

Pakistan is fully committed to cooperate and collaborate with the international community in our joint struggle against terrorism. We will also continue to work with the relevant UN departments and offices for capacity building and sharing of expertise and best practices.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.