Allow me to begin by thanking all Council members for supporting Pakistan in putting the theme of A Comprehensive Approach to Counter-terrorism on the Council’s agenda for an open debate culminating in a Presidential Statement.
In this regard, we are also thankful to the Secretary General for his constant help and guidance.
While choosing this theme, we knew that this was a difficult subject but certainly one that needed the Council’s attention and pronouncement because as the threat of terrorism continues to evolve, so must our strategies to deal with it.
This threat is not for today or tomorrow or for the next week or a year. It is a long haul. We all have to brace for it. We all have to continue to prepare for it.
Pakistan’s initiative for this debate is rooted in our shared objective of global peace, security, stability and development. As a threat to international peace and security, terrorism has a direct bearing on all of our countries and regions; as well as on individuals and societies. The last decade has shown that terrorism knows no geographical boundaries.
In the past decade, one lesson we have all learnt is that a lopsided or uni-dimensional approach will not work as we try to defeat this hydra-headed monster of terrorism. This monster has tentacles all around the world. This is truly a global threat. Our strategies and responses, therefore, must also be global.
The United Nations Security Council and the UN as a whole have already done impressive work by developing the legal and normative framework for countering terrorism and by creating mechanisms for implementation.
So what is it that we all want to accomplish under this new initiative?
After fighting terrorism for the past ten years, we have the benefit of hindsight and an unprecedented opportunity to deal, both with the symptoms and the causes of terrorism. We all are deeply aware of the unintended consequences of political decisions that can fuel the scourge of terrorism. Short-sighted methods of dealing with terrorism can offer ideological fodder to the cause of terrorism.
What we are looking for is a comprehensive and interlocking approach which is much more effective than our present effort and which is geared towards not only winning the battles but also the final war.
We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purpose. All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations. In the past decade, we have collaborated, as international community, to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat. We must attack and dismantle terrorist networks because they defy the writ of the State and kill civilians. And we must persevere in our efforts to deter and defeat terrorists militarily.
Yet our success is – at best – only partial.
It is both conventional wisdom and a compelling reality that terrorism will not be defeated alone by law enforcement measures, or intelligence operations or military and security strategies. That is why we need a comprehensive approach.
For sustainable solutions, we need to intensify our efforts to resolve long festering conflicts and crises that spawn extremism.
Terrorists’ misleading, distorted and malicious narrative, and their demented ideology that justifies killing of innocent people must be quashed by the international community, by the UN Security Council. It is our responsibility to counter terrorists’ propaganda. Our stories about human dignity and values should be louder than their criminal saga. We must move in concert to decrease the ideological space in which terrorists operate.
Development and security are interrelated. Development helps meet basic human needs, build community resilience, and prevent terrorism. Job creation for youth and their participation in socio-economic development, create an enabling environment for the success of counter-terrorism policies.
Special emphasis needs to be laid on creating opportunities for people in regions scarred by terrorism to be gainfully employed – so that “terrorists” cannot lure them to their side.
We in Pakistan have seen that nothing works better as an effort by the international community in this regard than allowing preferential market access to products produced within the region wracked by terrorism.
An even more important track is dialogue. All those who have chosen the path of terrorism but are willing to renounce violence should be brought back to national and societal mainstreams. Reconciliation must be promoted. Fissures must be bridged.
We also have to foster a culture of promotion of the rule of law, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and prevalence of good governance and tolerance.
I would add a few more points to emphasize why counter-terrorism needs to be the focus of the Council.
One, terrorism continues to mutate into newer and different forms. Terrorists use new information and communication technologies and the Internet for recruitment and incitement as well for planning and financing their activities. Counter-terrorism efforts need to adapt to these challenges and develop quick response strategies for real-time response.
Two, we should address the root causes of terrorism. Deprivation, marginalization, exclusion, and stereotyping often create conditions for a drift to terrorism. This drift should be stemmed.
Three, our collective and national measures to countering all forms of financing of terrorism, including through the proceeds of organized crime and illicit narcotics, should be made more effective.
Four, terrorism and extremism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, race, region, value system, or society. Attributing encouragement, incitement or inspiration of terrorist acts to any religious tradition or doctrine is unacceptable. An honest dialogue between different religions and civilizations is, therefore, a continuing political imperative.
In the fight against terrorism, regional and sub-regional efforts are extremely important. We need regional cooperation to impart education, to bolster criminal justice system, to enhance connectivity, to secure borders, and to tighten financial controls.
Besides, regional cooperation is necessary to guarantee lasting peace and security.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have taken steps towards a strategic relationship to jointly fight terrorism. This is a multi-pronged approach to counter terrorism. We are supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-driven reconciliation process; and efforts aimed at creating a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. We believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan will have a direct salutary impact on Pakistan.
Terrorism remains a serious threat to Pakistan.
We have been one of the biggest victims of terrorism. We can, therefore, relate to, feel, and share the pain and suffering caused by terrorism anywhere in the world.
Pakistan’s comprehensive approach to counter terrorism is based on Three D’s:, deterrence, development and dialogue. The entire nation, the government, the Parliament, the judiciary and the civil society are determined to fight terrorism and extremism.
Under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari, we have pursued a multifaceted policy to deal with the threat of terrorism in a holistic and sustainable manner.
Pakistan has led from the front in the international community’s fight against terrorism. Much of the success in global fight against terrorism has been made possible with Pakistan’s support and active cooperation. This success has come with a heavy cost for Pakistan and our people. But this has not deterred our resolve. Pakistan’s community resilience has been second to none.
The Pakistani armed forces and law enforcement officials have defended Pakistan, and the rest of the world, against the terrorist threat at great cost. Some 150,000 troops are deployed on the Pak-Afghan border to detect and degrade these ubiquitous terrorists who are enemies of our people. Seven thousand brave Pakistani soldiers and policemen and over 37,000 innocent civilians, including women and children, have fallen victim to the blight of terrorism. Thousands have been injured and disabled.
Pakistan’s most popular leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in 2007. Recently, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa leader and senior Minister Bashir Bilour, who spoke courageously against terrorism, was killed in a suicide bombing attack. Even the young, innocent teenage girl – Malala Yousafzai – could not escape the bullet of a terrorist. She survived and we hope her life will be a testimony of the resilience of the Pakistani people.
Terrorists gain strength from various sources of financing. We should continue to refine measures to prevent and suppress their sources of funding coming from the abuse of charitable non-profit organizations as well as from the proceeds from organized crime and illicit narcotics. Pakistan recently hosted a successful regional Conference on Counter-Narcotics.
We have also launched a thorough public awareness campaign about the atrocities committed by terrorists.
Success of a counter-terrorist offensive cannot be measured only by defeat of terrorists. After successful operation in Swat and Malakand we had to first absorb and then rehabilitate 2.2 million displaced persons, through a massive national effort.
We also are focusing on the well-being and appropriate rehabilitation of victims. We have invested energy and resources in de-radicalization, so that misguided youth can be re-integrated into society. We have established one such de-radicalization center at Saboon for that purpose.
Capacity building needs of partner countries must be addressed with seriousness. Reluctance to share critical equipment and intelligence amounts to weakening those pitted against terrorists.
Terrorism undermines global stability and prosperity. It undermined Pakistan’s stability and economic prospects. That is why we have asked our partners in the international community to enhance our market access for the products in which we have comparative advantages.
We believe in balancing hard core national strategies with socio-economic and community driven plans. The Government of Pakistan is also investing in development of affected areas including in education, health, tourism and sports, and construction of roads, dams, canals and hydroelectric projects.
The UN and its subsidiary bodies have an important role in the implementation of its resolutions, the development of discourse on counter terrorism, and the dissemination of best practices. The United Nations should continue to play a visible and effective role in leading counter-terrorism efforts. In this regard, it is critical that we maximize transparency, efficiency, coordination and synergy within the UN system.
Let me conclude by emphasizing that terrorism threatens us all. Joining forces and strengthening cooperation is key to success at the national and international levels. States need to continue to work more closely in the implementation of their counter terrorism strategies. Terrorism can only be defeated by comprehensive and collective endeavors of the international community in a cooperative framework. Pakistan will continue to play its role in this collective undertaking.
I thank you all.
16 January 2013
Last modified: November 21, 2019
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