ISLAMABAD: Launching a blistering attack against India, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi on Monday invited the world body’s attention to the killings in Kashmir as she said brutalisation of people struggling for their legitimate right to self-determination constitutes ‘state terrorism’.
Over hundred people have died and many thousands sustained injuries in the Indian-held Kashmir in the brutal crackdown of Indian forces on protests that erupted in the disputed territory after the killing of a popular freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, on July 8.
Participating in the UN debate on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, Lodhi said continued denial of the right to self-determination to people living under foreign occupation is a violation of international law as enshrined in the UN charter, said a statement issued by the foreign office.
Lodhi pointed out that such violations of international law and the UN charter should not be ignored. She also made an impassioned plea to the global community to address the underlying causes of international terrorism.
She said an important factor why the world had not been able to defeat terrorism, despite tougher measures, is because the international community has been unable or unwilling to deal with the “conditions conducive to terrorism”. “But despite being obvious causative factors, the international community seems to lack the will to address these,” she added.
The Pakistani envoy also urged the international community to address longstanding situations of conflict and injustice in order to prevent the spread of extremism. She said conflicts undermine development, break down governance, create a sense of injustice and fuel violence.
“Yet in the context of preventing extremism, the global community has yet to address longstanding situations of conflict and injustice,” she added.
Lodhi criticised those political forces in the West which are fanning Islamophobia. She said, “While there is consensus in the global community that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, we see extreme right parties in the West seeking to reap political dividends by fanning Islamophobia.”
“Why is no action taken against this deliberate hate mongering?” she asked.
Pakistan, Lodhi said, has been the principal victim of terrorism including that ‘supported, sponsored and financed’ from abroad. “We have lost more than 60,000 lives; many more have been injured,” she said.
Expressing Pakistan’s determination to counter terrorism, she said, “These losses have not diminished my country’s commitment to fight this menace. It has only reinforced our will to fight until the last terrorist is eliminated from the country.”
She told the world body about Pakistan’s multi-pronged strategy, which involves a military-led law enforcement campaign and a comprehensive National Action Plan against terrorists. She reiterated Pakistan’s full commitment to cooperate with the world community in its struggle against terrorism.
Lodhi also pressed for a holistic approach to address the root causes of conflicts as well as the now well-acknowledged drivers of radicalisation that lie in economic and social marginalization and exclusion. “Without taking a holistic approach, we will be fighting symptoms and not the underlying causes of the disease itself,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2016.