Statement by Ambassador Mohammad Aamir Khan, Deputy Representative of Pakistan to the UN in the General Assembly under agenda Item 123 on the 7th Review of the UN Global counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) (6 July 2021)

Thank you very much Madam President,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

We would like to thank the co-facilitators of the 7th review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS), the Permanent Representative of Oman, H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Al Hassan, and the Permanent Representative of Spain, H.E. Ambassador Agustin Santos Maraver for leading this extremely important process.

Madam President,

Pakistan has been at the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and has rendered innumerable sacrifices in this regard.

For more than a decade, Pakistan has suffered the most due to terrorism, including the one supported and sponsored from abroad, suffering thousands of casualties of both civilians and security personnel.

The most recent manifestation of this externally supported and financed terrorism is in the form of heinous terrorist attack on 23 June 2021 in Lahore. Those responsible for organizing, financing and supporting such terrorist attacks, and many more before it, must be held accountable by the international community.

Madam President,

Pakistan welcomes the adoption of draft resolution A/75/L.105 entitled “The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: 7th review” by consensus.

We express the hope that the adoption of this resolution will help in further strengthening international cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as towards the implementation of all four Pillars of the GCTS in a balanced manner.

In addition to my delegation’s contribution to the general debate in context of Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (GCTS), my intervention today also serves as Pakistan’s our explanation of position on certain paras of the adopted resolution.

Madam President,

One of most important purposes of the GCTS review is to keep the Strategy relevant and contemporary in the light of emerging new threats and evolving trends of international terrorism.

Today, one of the most concerning emerging trends in global terrorism is in the form of terrorist attacks on the basis racism, xenophobia, intolerance, Islamophobia or other forms of intolerance, by violent nationalist, supremacist, far right, and other such groups and ideologies.

The COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, has further exacerbated this threat, with such terrorist groups capitalizing on the pandemic to spread hatred and conspiracy theories, including through internet and social media platforms.

In this regard, the adopted Strategy quite rightly recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence directed against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia and other such prejudices.

It calls upon member states to take appropriate measures to address the new and emerging threats posed by the rise in terrorist attacks on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief; to counter direct and indirect forms of religious and racial discrimination and incitement to hostility, hatred and violence propagated by terrorist groups; and requests the UN Secretary-General to develop a greater understanding of the motivations, objectives, organization and the threat posed by such groups within the global terrorist landscape, including new and emerging threats, and to report on these in advance of 77th UNGA session.

We hope that the upcoming report of the Secretary General will take a comprehensive overview of the emerging threats in this regard.

Madam President,

In order to address the root causes of terrorism, it is imperative for the international community, in particular, the UN Security Council, to address situations of prolonged unresolved conflicts, foreign occupation, and denial of the right to self-determination.

History bears testimony to the undeniable reality that the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination results inevitably in perpetuation of violence and conflict. Aggressors, colonizers and occupiers often attempt to justify their suppression of legitimate struggles for self-determination and freedom by portraying them as “terrorism”.

We, therefore, welcome that the adopted resolution reaffirms the commitment of the international community to take measures to resolve prolonged conflicts, as well as to end foreign occupation in order to address conditions conducive to the spread of international terrorism.

Madam President,

Pakistan has been and will continue to call for necessary changes in the global counter terrorism architecture and the UN Security Council sanctions regime to end stigmatization of followers of certain religion as well as to broaden the scope of such measures against new and emerging threats, including on the basis racism, xenophobia, intolerance, Islamophobia or other forms of intolerance.

At the same time, we reiterate our call for enhancing the transparency of the UNSC sanctions regime, as well as addressing the deficiencies in the global counter-terrorism architecture and norm building, particularly as a result of the regulatory landscape being developed under the umbrella of the Security Council through adoption of Chapter VII resolutions.

Likewise, a number of opaque and non-inclusive processes lacking global membership are increasingly been consolidated within the counter-terrorism architecture through the development of “soft law” standards and practices.

Pakistan welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism in this regard.

We also acknowledge the contribution of the Office of the Ombudsperson to the Da'esh and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, towards enhancing the transparency in the UNSC sanctions, and calls for further strengthening of the office.

Madam President,

Throughout the negotiations, Pakistan has maintained its principled position that all the activities of the UNOCT should be funded through the regular UN budget, and the UNGA should give full autonomy and a central role to the UNOCT to implement its mandate.

We hope that the adopted resolution will help us take necessary steps in this regard.

With regard to paras PP 16 and OP 12 of the adopted resolution, Pakistan would like to put on record that these paras can neither be interpreted to give an implicit mandate to UNOCT to expand its field presences, nor modify or expand the role or mandate of the UN country team presences, including that of the office of the UN Resident Coordinator. The principle of consent of the host states for the presence of any UN field presence, including that of UNOCT, is inviolable and must be always upheld. Moreover, all UN field presences must operate in line with their respective mandates and in cooperation with the respective host countries.

Madam President,

In conclusion, I would like to reassure Pakistan’s continued and unwavering support towards strengthening international cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and towards the implementation of all four Pillars of the GCTS in a balanced manner.

Thank you.