As the UN Security Council considers further steps to implement its anti-terrorism strategies, Pakistan also urged the world community to help strengthen its efforts.
“We need continued support and cooperation for our counter-terrorism efforts,” Pakistani envoy Raza Bashir Tarar told a high-level meeting of the 15-member Security Council on ‘Strengthening International Cooperation in the Implementation of Counter-Terrorism Obligation.’
Tarar said terrorism in Pakistan has “grown in intensity” over the years because of the decades-long conflict and instability in Afghanistan. He noted that Pakistan has no less than 150,000 troops posted on its border with Afghanistan to counter al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
The Security Council, in its presidential statement, said terrorism “cannot and should not” be associated with any particular region, nationality or civilization – a point that Pakistan and several other council members had emphasised during diplomatic talks held earlier.
A draft is being prepared for the presidential statement for policies related to counter-terrorism activities. Diplomatic sources said Pakistan, at first, had reservations about the wording of the draft’s text on issues pertaining to territorial integrity, indiscriminate targeting of different religions and financing of terrorism. But the contentions were resolved later.
One observer, however, feels that some countries including Pakistan are still “uncomfortable” with the draft even after some disputable references were removed. The person, requesting anonymity, noted that many feel the draft has in their view, “encroached the mandate of the UN’s General Assembly.”
One such issue is a reference in the presidential statement to a comprehensive convention on terrorism. Many feel the issue falls within the paradigm of the 193-member General Assembly.
Negotiations in the General Assembly, however, remain stalled due to disagreements over the scope of application on the definition of ‘terrorism.’
Another bone of contention in the draft of the presidential statement is the concept of ‘state-sponsored’ terrorism.
Stressing on the need for an “integrated response,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he hoped member nations would agree on appointing a UN Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to promote synergy among all the participants.
The meeting was organised by Azerbaijan, which holds the council’s rotating presidency for this month. The conference comes ahead of next month’s review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by the General Assembly.
Adopted by the Assembly in September 2006, the strategy is based on measures to prevent and fight terrorism by strengthening the role of the UN system, ensuring respect for human rights for all, and accepting rule of law as the fundamental basis.
At the council, the Pakistani envoy said his nation was in full compliance with international agreements on counter-terrorism, including measures to check financial transactions related to terrorism.
Tarar claimed that Pakistan had recently intercepted Rs750.8 million worth of financial assets linked to suspect terrorist activities. He added that the State Bank had also become more vigilant in monitoring financial transactions.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.