Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the Sixth Committee Agenda Item-109: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism (3rd October 2017)

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. We assure you of our full support.

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

Mr. Chairman

Terrorism has claimed innocent lives, caused widespread destruction, undermined social stability and disrupted state structures. With Daesh becoming its new and even deadlier face, terrorism and violent extremism continue to be among the most complex and imposing challenges of our time.

Pakistan unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism. There can be no justification for the killing of innocent people anywhere, regardless of the cause or pretext.

Fighting terrorism is a collective challenge and the international community must address it collaboratively.

Mr. Chairman,

Terrorism in Pakistan is an unfortunate by product of the political and geo-strategic developments and foreign interventions in our neighborhood over the past 40 years.

We have lost over 27,000 of our citizens and law enforcement personnel to this scourge, with many more injured and maimed for life. We have also suffered economic losses of over US$120 billion. But neither the human nor financial losses have diminished my country’s commitment to fight this menace. It has only reinforced our will to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated from our soil.

Mr. Chairman,

By our comprehensive efforts over the past several years, supported by a firm domestic political consensus, we have been able to turn the tide against terrorism.

We adopted a “whole of society” approach and formulated a National Action Plan (NAP) as part of a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism. Under this 20-point strategy measures have also been taken to evolve a national narrative to counter violent extremism.

We have created a dedicated counter terrorism force, enacted laws to prevent the financing of terrorism, undertaken reform of the criminal justice system, build capacity of our law enforcement agencies and formed an oversight mechanism to monitor implementation.

Simultaneously, we launched an across-the-board military campaign, the largest anti- terrorism operation any where in the world, to destroy terrorist infrastructures and bases in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and our tribal areas. We also embarked on a law enforcement operation targeting those elements in our urban areas that had fled our military operations in the tribal areas.

Success of this two-pronged approach has resulted in the sharp reduction of terrorist activities across Pakistan over the past two years. According to the Global Terrorism Index, terrorism in Pakistan now is at its lowest since 2006.

Notwithstanding these efforts, terrorism continues to pose a challenge. Its nature however, has changed. The threat that we face today is primarily supported and financed from outside our borders. We are confident that we will be able to defeat these forces too.

Mr. Chairman,

Global terrorism continues to pose a clear and present danger.

The United Nations is uniquely positioned to assist member states in developing their domestic counter terrorism capacities. In this context, we welcome Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s reform initiative and the creation of the new Office of Counter Terrorism. We also welcome Vladimir Voronkov as the USG to head this new office. Pakistan will extend all possible support to this office in implementation of its mandate.

With reform of the UN’s CT architecture in progress, it remains important that we do not delink terrorism from its political context, its transnational dimension and the geo-politics which often creates the conditions which spawns terrorism.

Pakistan believes that the new office must work closely with the Department of Political Affairs to “address conditions conducive to terrorism” - a critical pillar of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS).

Mr. Chairman,

There is consensus in the international community that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, faith, race, ethnicity, value system or culture. We believe that, in the upcoming review of GCTS, we should also address defamation of religions and demonization of communities, as they incite hatred and can lead to violent reactions.

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 to self-determination. Political and economic injustice fuels animosities, breeds hostility and often also leads to violent reactions.

We must also ensure that the measures we take to counter terrorism remain within the framework of international law.

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 International Humanitarian Law and clearly differentiate between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggles for self-determination of people living under foreign occupation.

The malicious attempts by those who seek to manipulate the international consensus against terrorism to justify the suppression of people struggling for their right to self-determination must never be permitted to succeed.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with the international community to work together to counter terrorism. But I must reemphasize the need to also address the root causes that I have identified, as well as the now well-acknowledged drivers of radicalization, which lie in economic and social marginalization and exclusion.

Without a holistic approach, we will be fighting only the symptoms and not the underlying causes of this deadly phenomenon.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.