UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan assured the international community on Tuesday that it was committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms because it believed that a selective approach would not work.
At a UN meeting on “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Munir Akram said that the US-Taliban agreement could also help eliminate terrorism.
Pakistan supports the Afghan peace process and played a key role in finalising the US-Taliban deal in February this year. Now, Islamabad is also backing US efforts to push forward an intra-Afghan dialogue that Washington hopes will end 19 years of war and destruction.
“The US-Taliban agreement and the intra-Afghan negotiations initiated recently will hopefully yield a political solution. Peace in Afghanistan will create conditions conducive to eliminating terrorism from our region,” Ambassador Akram said.
Underlining Pakistan’s commitment to defeating terrorism, he said: “Terrorism must be defeated comprehensively, everywhere, in all its manifestations. It cannot be addressed selectively.”
Pakistan has long emphasised the need to combat state-backed terrorism as well, like in the Indian-occupied Kashmir. Islamabad argues that repressive policies encourage terrorism.
In the UN, Pakistan aligned itself with the statements delivered by Saudi Arabia on behalf of the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Both stress the need to defeat terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination.
Ambassador Akram told the world body that global cooperation had succeeded in defeating the “core” of the major terrorist organisations — Al Qaeda and the militant Islamic State group — yet, their associates and affiliates had survived and spread across the world.
“Terrorism is manifesting itself in various new and mutated forms which are not being effectively addressed,” the ambassador warned.
“We have been the target of cross-border terrorism for decades,” said the Pakistani envoy while referring to terrorist attacks inside Pakistan that had taken almost 70,000 lives and caused $120 billion of economic losses.
“It is essential to examine why — despite global strategies, mechanisms and interventions — terrorist violence has proliferated and now appears endemic,” he added.
One of the main reasons, he said, was that “an insufficient effort has been made to distinguish terrorism from the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination and national liberation”.
Ambassador Akram pointed out that legitimate freedom struggles were entitled, under international law, to resort to “all available means” to secure their right to self-determination.
“History reveals that such popular struggles against colonial and foreign occupation have been often equated with terrorism. Yet, they have always triumphed,” he said.
Noting that India too was trying to suppress the Kashmiri struggle for the right of self-determination under various excuses, the Pakistani envoy said: “The Kashmiri struggle cannot be suppressed by India’s attempt to equate it with terrorism.”
Pointing out that global counter-terrorism endeavour had failed to address “state terrorism”, he said: “The suppression of self-determination and foreign occupation is the worst form of state terrorism.”
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2020