NEW YORK – Pakistan told the 15-member Security Council that the global campaign against terrorism should not be reduced to a slogan slandering Islam or any other religion or race.
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Participating in the open debate of the Security Council on “Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi called for close examination of why, despite the global counter-terrorism campaign, the terrorist threat continues to evolve into more virulent forms and pose a pervasive danger to international and national peace and security.
Ambassador Lodhi urged the Security Council to address the underlying causes that create terrorist recruits. She said that Pakistan remains convinced that to defeat and eliminate terrorism, it is essential to address the underlying causes which include unresolved internal and inter-state conflicts, illegal use of force, external aggression and intervention, foreign occupation, denial of self-determination, political and economic injustice and the marginalisation and alienation of communities and groups.
Only by addressing these underlying causes can the world community erode the appeal of the narratives of hate and hostility, which provide the oxygen for the existence and growth of terrorism, she added.
Ambassador Lodhi told the Security Council that Pakistan was confronting externally supported terrorism whose aim is to target the major infrastructure the country is currently building in order to undermine its economic accomplishments and stability.
The Pakistani envoy emphasised that International and regional cooperation remains vital in countering the threat of terrorism.
It was in this spirit that Pakistan joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Convention on Suppression of Terrorism, she said. But she also pointed out that unfortunately, SAARC as an organisation had become a victim of the hostile agenda of some of Pakistan’s neighbours. “This” she added. “has severely hampered the ability of our region to respond to its multiple challenges, including terrorism”.
She said that while Pakistan remains committed to strengthening regional cooperation it continues to suffer from acts of terrorism emanating from and supported from the region.
But she told the world body that Pakistan is “fully determined and fully capable of repelling such state-sponsored terrorism.”
Detailing Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism she said that over the past four years, the country had adopted a multi-pronged strategy: a military-led operation Zarb-e-Azb which successfully destroyed the terrorist infrastructure and a National Action Plan, undergird by a strong national consensus, to counter the narrative of terrorist and extremist organisations.
Pakistan’s counter-terrorism campaign had succeeded in expelling terrorist organisations from its territory and greatly constrained their ability to carry out lethal attacks – as evident from the dramatic decline in the number of such attacks, despite Monday’s terrorist attack in Lahore.