Legal complication: Govt asked to shun ‘war on terror’ phrase

Published: April 18, 2011
FO advises caution while describing counter-insurgency operations.

FO advises caution while describing counter-insurgency operations.


The ministry of foreign affairs has urged government officials to avoid parroting the phrases being used by the international media while describing the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the country.

The ministry believes that even the use of phrases like ‘war on terror’ should be eschewed as it has already been shunned by those who had coined it.

Last week the ministry had issued a circular, asking government officials to avoid using terms and phrases that portray Pakistan negatively abroad and might trigger the application of the international law or the UN censure.

On April 21, 2010 the President Secretariat had directed all the concerned officials to refer to the actions of Pakistan’s security forces along the Afghan border as “law enforcement operations against terrorists, miscreants and militants.”

The foreign ministry’s circular read: “All concerned should exhibit extra caution in the use of loaded terminologies. ‘Operation against terrorists’ should be described as ‘operation against miscreants’ and the use of phrase ‘war on terror’ should be strictly avoided during interaction with the media, UN and other humanitarian organisations….

“Also avoid using phrases like ‘children in armed conflict’, ‘women in armed conflict’, ‘civilian in armed conflict’, ‘armed group conflict situation’, ‘conflict zone’, ‘child soldiers’, ‘combatants conflict prevention’, conflict resolution’, ‘humanitarian intervention’, ‘war’ and ‘war zone’.

“It may be noted that such terminologies are used for describing situations in the African countries, like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Republic of Congo that are suffering from prolonged civil wars.

“In order to protect our long-term national interest and national image such phrases should be scrupulously avoided in all interactions.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th,  2011.

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  • Apr 19, 2011 - 2:37AM


    Avoid speaking. A lot of international journalists talk.Recommend

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