NEW YORK: A top Pakistani diplomat has called for the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy to sharpen its focus in countering the “unfair and biased” portrayal of Islam and Islamic beliefs in the context of the fight against terrorism.
“Acts of incitement and hate-speech against Muslims not only exacerbate the gulf in attitudes but also foster misperceptions between the Islamic world and the West,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, told the UN General Assembly’s Legal Committee.
“We must address these challenges through political, normative and legal measures as also through dialogue and diplomacy.” Speaking in a debate on “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”, she said while the UN’s 2006 Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, which Pakistan supports, has made progress, more needs to be done especially in addressing the root causes and breeding grounds that lead to the spread of terrorism.
“The international community must address the root causes of terrorism including protracted unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, denial of the right to self-determination and political and economic injustices, as well as political marginalization and alienation,” the Pakistani envoy added.
Noting that Terrorism has regional and global dimensions, Ambassador Lodhi said all countries should do more to combat this menace. Terrorism was a common threat, requiring a co-operative framework, and should not become an instrument to shift blame on to others.
“Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism remains unwavering,” she told delegates from around the world, adding, “We have lost tens of thousands of lives to terrorism. But the blood that has been shed including that of our innocent children has reinforced our resolve to eliminate this scourge from our society.”
Resolved to eliminate the scourge, a multi-pronged strategy, including a comprehensive national action plan and a military-led law enforcement operation, Zarb-e-Azb, against terrorists, had been adopted, Ambassador Lodhi said. Zarb-e-Azb, the largest anti-terrorism campaign against terrorists anywhere, involving 180,000 of the country’s security forces, had made substantial progress. Pakistan’s national action plan included police and security initiatives, political and legal measures and social and economic packages, she went on to say.
Other initiatives included the propagation of counter-narratives to extremist ideology, economic development of areas at risk, skills development for its youth, and capacity-building of its justice and security officials, to name a few. Underscoring the importance of international law, Ambassador Lodhi called for the cessation of drone strikes in her country’s border areas.
Source: Business Recorder