Statement by Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Sixth Review of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy United Nations General Assembly (26 June 2018)

Mr. President,

I would like to express our profound gratitude to Ambassadors Sima Bahous of Jordan and Kai Sauer of Finland for leading a fair and transparent consultative process for the review of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and congratulate them on the consensual adoption of the resolution today.

We also appreciate the constructive spirit with which delegations approached the negotiations. Indeed, the twelfth anniversary of the GCTS demanded a strong and united message against terrorism. It is gratifying that we were able to deliver one.

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Saudi Arabia on behalf of the OIC.

Mr. President,

The resolution we adopted today does not, by any means, end our journey. It is a milestone but we have a long way to go.

The scourge of terrorism continues to morph and among the many security threats endangering global security, it continues to be the most complex and imposing challenge of our time.

The updated Strategy underscores our collective determination to continue to pursue our recommendations across the four pillars of the strategy.

Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to fight this battle, whatever the cost. My country has already made enormous sacrifices in this battle – sacrifices that we know will not be in vain..

This commitment was also reflected in the constructive spirit with which my delegation engaged in the review process. It is also the reason we joined the consensus on the resolution today.

Mr. President,

We will continue to strive to strengthen our joint commitment to address the conditions conducive to terrorism, including the internal and the external drivers of terrorism, in a balanced manner.

It is therefore critical that Member States reaffirm their determination to address some of the most pervasive root causes of terrorism, including resolution of conflicts, both longstanding, protracted ones as well as new ones. This means ending foreign occupation, allowing for the exercise of the right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter, eliminating all forms of discrimination, including Xenophobia and Islamophobia, and discouraging unilateral measures that violate the UN Charter.

The resolution we have adopted today clearly notes that when counterterrorism efforts sidestep the rule of law, at the national and the international levels, violate international law, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and fundamental freedoms, they not only betray the values they seek to uphold, but can also end up fueling terrorism.

Mr. President,

Another important issue that remained at the core of discussions this year was the concept of ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’.

Two years ago when the General Assembly unanimously agreed to implement measures to curb, what at that time was, deemed as the new phenomenon of “violent extremism”, it was expected that with time we will be able to remove the confusion about what it stood for. However, over this period, we witnessed new programmes and mandates generated under the pretext of “Preventing Violent Extremism” that seek to reform and reconstruct societies. This approach, though tempting for some, needs to be more thoroughly evaluated.

We all agree to implement measures to prevent terrorism, but States have the sovereign right to evolve and take preventive measures based on their local conditions and priorities.

As the Secretary General’s Report of 2016 on Preventing Violent Extremism notes, our understanding of Violent Extremism has been shaped by our experiences of dealing with terrorism, and that of course varies widely.

With this in view, Pakistan proposed several ideas to clarify the concept of ‘Violent Extremism’. While these ideas were supported by a large number of delegations, it is unfortunate that we were not able to achieve the desired progress.

Mr. President,

Few countries can match the national efforts of my country in countering terrorism. Fewer still can match our sacrifices.

Our law enforcement operations have achieved significant success in these efforts. As a result, terrorist incidents in Pakistan are at its lowest now, compared to any point over the last decade.

Simultaneously, we have also organized our efforts into a National Action Plan to counter terrorism – each Action Point coordinated by a Ministerial level committee.

Recently, Pakistan announced a comprehensive “National Counter Extremism Policy” which seeks to introduce preventive measures, with a ‘whole of society’ and ‘whole of government’ approach.

Last year, religious scholars in my country issued a religious edict or fatwa, condemning terrorism and, in particular, suicide bombings, anywhere in the world.

Our actions regarding promotion and protection of women’s rights, special emphasis on harnessing the potential of youth, educational reforms, capacity building of our law enforcement agencies, economic development programs and special assistance packages for victims of terrorism are fully aligned with GCTS.

Mr. President,

Based on our valuable experience in the CT domain, we look forward to partnering with UNOCT and CTED, to find avenues to share our experiences and best practices with other Member States. We believe such partnerships will contribute constructively towards enhancing the capability of the UN system to better meet Member States’ expectations.

Before I conclude, let me assure you, Mr. President, of Pakistan’s continued and tireless efforts to counter and prevent terrorism, as well as our constructive engagement with Member States to further refine the consensual normative framework on countering terrorism.

I thank you, Mr. President.