UNITED NATIONS   -   Pakistan has called for countering ter­rorism by addressing its underlying root causes at a U.N. meeting aimed at advancing the rights and needs of people whose lives have been upend­ed by the scourge.

“Pakistan has been principle victim of terrorism,” Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said at a Thursday’s session on “Terrorist attacks based on xenophobia, racism, and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion of belief”, which was part of the first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism. 

“We have lost more than 80,000 pre­cious lives and suffered over $120 billion in economic losses,” he said, adding no country has sacrificed more than Paki­stan for achieving peace. “The ‘core’ of the international terrorist groups – Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been decimated, in case of Al-Qaeda largely due to Pakistan’s contri­bution, the Pakistani envoy added.

Pointing out that the threat from ter­rorism continues – and it has spread geographically, he called for adopting appropriate strategies to eliminate the terrorist threats. In this regard, Ambas­sador Akram observed that “we have not addressed the root causes of terror­ism – conflicts, oppression, foreign oc­cupation and injustice. There is a need to have a comprehensive approach to­wards the issue of terrorism that takes into account all factors in the global counter terrorism strategy (GCTS) ar­chitecture.” He also stressed the need to distinguish between terrorism and legal struggles for freedom and self-determination, saying in situations of foreign occupation, it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle. 

“In occupied Jammu & Kashmir, the occupying forces has initiated a vicious campaign of state terrorism to prevent the Kashmir people from exercising their recognized right to self-determination,” the Pakistani envoy told the gathering.

State-sponsored terrorism against adversaries also remains to be ef­fectively addressed, he said, adding that Pakistan continues to suffer from cross-border terrorism “sponsored and financed by the one South Asian nation which has fomented terrorism in all its neighbouring countries.”