NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi told the world body that Pakistan faces a terrorist threat “primarily supported and financed from outside its borders,” a press released said.
Pakistan “will be able to defeat these forces too,” she vowed while speaking in the UN General Assembly’s debate on ‘Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism’ which took place in its Sixth Committee.
Lodhi said that the country has turned the tide against terrorism as a result of its comprehensive efforts over the past several years, supported by a firm domestic political consensus.
Pakistan has conducted the largest anti-terrorism operation anywhere in the world, she said. “We have launched an across-the-board military campaign 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”, she added.
The ambassador said that the success of Pakistan’s two-pronged approached 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 is now at its lowest point since 2006.
“We have lost over 27,000 of our citizens and law enforcement personnel to this scourge and have also suffered economic losses of over US$120 billion”, Lodhi said.
Expressing Pakistan’s firm resolve to continue its fight against terrorism, Ambassador Lodhi said that these human and financial losses have not diminished Pakistan’s commitment to fight this menace. “It has only reinforced our will to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated from our soil”, she stressed.
Reiterating Pakistan’s unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, the Pakistani envoy said that there can be no justification for the killing of innocent people anywhere, regardless of the cause or pretext.
Lodhi called for cooperation between the international community to fight terrorism as it was a collective challenge that 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”, she commented.
The Pakistani envoy called for urgent and focused attention 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, she pointed out, 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”, she said.
She also called for addressing the issue of defamation of religions and demonisation of communities in the upcoming review of the UN’s Global Counter Terrorism Strategy as they incite hatred and can lead to violent reactions.
Lodhi welcomed Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s reform of the UN ‘s CT architecture including the creation of the new Office of Counter Terrorism. She also welcomed Vladimir Voronkov as head of this new office and assured him of Pakistan’s support in implementation of his mandate.