Pakistan has called for addressing the unresolved conflicts, foreign occupation and denial of right to self-determination, especially in Kashmir and Palestine, in order to completely wipe out terrorism that has spread across the world.
“To comprehensively defeat terrorism, we must address not only its symptoms but also its root causes,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the General Assembly Legal (sixth) Committee during a debate on ‘Measures to eliminate International Terrorism’ on Tuesday.
In his remarks, the Pakistani envoy spoke about terrorism’s emerging trends and underscored both the importance of agreeing on a legal definition and developing a comprehensive convention on combating the menace.
“Any definition of terrorism in the comprehensive convention must also take into account and reflect the new and emerging threats, including violent acts by white supremacist; far right extreme right wing, violent nationalist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and Hindutva groups and ideologies in various parts of the world,” he said.
The new convention, the Pakistani envoy said, must clearly distinguish between acts of terrorism and a legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign and colonial occupation to the right to self-determination and national liberation.
“We must ensure that fight against terrorism is not misused to violate human rights,” he said, noting a. recent Amnesty International Report illustrates how one country in South Asia — India — has weaponised the FATF’s recommendations to suppress civil society and journalists and intensify oppression.
Ambassador Akram said that over the past two decades Pakistan has played a key role in fighting against terrorism, pointing out that Al-Qaeda was decimated largely due to its efforts.
However, he said that Pakistan was also a principled victim of terrorism, recalling that over the last 20 years it has suffered over 80,000 civilian and military casualties in terrorist attacks, while its economy and development have been severely damaged.
Pakistan continues to suffer from State-sponsored terrorism, he said, adding that on 29 September – on the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – it had suffered two terrorist attacks, which killed 60 and injured over 100 civilians.
Ambassador Akram also called for addressing the emerging threats of terrorism from right-wing, neo-fascist and Islamophobic extremism,” while advocating “appropriate changes” in the UN’s counter-terrorism architecture and sanctions regimes to cover hate speech, terrorist narratives and provocations to violence.
“The new cyber tools of terrorism, including crypto-currencies and on-line terrorist recruitment; and regulate social media platforms.”
To this end, he suggested that the General Assembly should establish a commission to promote the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
On the other hand, Indian delegate Kajal Bhat reacted to Ambassador Akram’s pointed words, claiming that Kashmir was an integral part of India and accused Pakistan of involvement in terrorism.
Pakistani delegate Muhammad Jawad Ajmal hit back, saying that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized
disputed territory. The dispute, he said, remains on the UN Security Council’s agenda and it’s final disposition will be determined by the Kashmiri people through a UN-supervised plebiscite.
Ajmal, a first secretary at the Pakistan Mission to the UN, told the committee that the Indian occupation forces were trying to suppress the Kashmiri people’s demand for the exercise of their right to self-determination and freedom, with a brutal crackdown.
Since 1989, he said, over a hundred thousand Kashmiris have been killed and a systemic colonial-settler project is in the works.
The Pakistani delegate accused India of sponsoring state terrorism. “Previously, it used to perpetrate terrorism against its immediate neighboyrs. Now, its terrorist franchise has gone global,” he said in an obvious reference to the alleged Indian involvement in the killing of a Sikh leaders on the Canadian soil.
“Pakistan has concrete evidence of its (India’s) sponsorship of the TTP terrorist organization which has carried out multiple attacks against our civilians and military targets,” Ajmal said. “Other terrorist groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) are also financed and operated by this country. The captured spy on our soil, Naval Commander Kulbhushan Yadav, testifies to their vast terrorist network.”