UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has urged the UN Security Council to hold accountable the “masterminds” who continue to support, finance, and sponsor cross-border terrorist attacks into its territory.
Pakistan raised the issue of cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan after India used the UN forum on Monday to accuse Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in occupied Kashmir.
The Indian initiative turned the annual meeting of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) in New York into a battle of words between South Asia’s two nuclear powers. This was the committee’s first briefing since January when India assumed its chair.
Last week, Pakistani security forces repulsed two attacks at their camps in Balochistan. At least13 terrorists were killed in the fight while seven soldiers and an officer embraced martyrdom.
Islamabad raised the issue after Delhi accused it of sponsoring terrorism in India-held Kashmir
Last month, a similar attack in Kech, Balochistan, resulted in the martyrdom of 10 soldiers.
Earlier this week, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that Pakistan had intercepted communications between those who conducted the attacks in Balochistan and their handlers in Afghanistan and India.
Initiating a diplomatic broadside against Pakistan, Indian representative Rajesh Parihar indirectly blamed Islamabad for encouraging terrorism in the region. He cited the 2016 Pathankot attack, and the 2019 Pulwama attack to support his claim.
Using a similar, indirect approach, a Pakistani representative Umer Siddique urged the UN body to ensure that Afghanistan’s territory was not used for launching attacks into Pakistan.
The Pakistani representative reminded committee members that more than once Pakistan shared with the UN Security Council irrefutable evidence of external (Indian) involvement in terrorist attacks inside its territory.
“We all know who has been supporting and financing” terror groups like the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA),” Mr Siddique said.
The Pakistani representative also emphasised the need to separate terrorism from legitimate struggles for basic human rights, such as the struggle for right of self-determination in Kashmir.
“We must not allow the hijacking of technical bodies such as this to serve bilateral programmes of hate and aggression,” Mr Siddique said.
He also called out India for opposing UN initiates to address the rising number of terrorist attacks at Muslims in India and urged it not to mainstream Islamophobia.
Mr Siddiqui welcomed the UN Security Council’s recognition of terrorist threats arising from xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance and called for greater focus on the issue.
He referred to a recent global survey, which acknowledges Pakistan’s progress in this regard and cites Pakistan as one of the states which regularly conducts frequent or focused threat risk assessments.
Pakistan assured the world body that it has taken concrete steps to assess its terrorism-financing risk since 2019, including conducting a Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (TFRA), as well as National Risk Assessment on money-laundering and terrorism financing.
Pakistan informed the UN committee that it has made significant progress in countering terrorist financing by amending laws, improving regulatory frameworks and enhancing inter-agency coordination.
The survey also mentions this, noting that Pakistan had enhanced its investigative capacity through the creation of a national counterterrorism coordinating agency.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022