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October 9, 2014

Pakistan demands end to drone attacks

Peshawar

October 9, 2014

UNITED NATIONS: Pointing to the rapid and destructive spread of terrorism and terrorist acts throughout the world, Pakistan has called for the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy to focus attention on addressing festering disputes, foreign occupation and denial of the right of self-determination.
“The proposed convention must be consistent with the International Humanitarian Law and it should clearly differentiate between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggles for self-determination of people living under foreign occupation,” Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, told the UN General Assembly’s Legal Committee, which is working on the convention.
Speaking in a debate on “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”, he also demanded cessation of US drone strikes in Pakistani border areas, saying Islamabad was already taking a decisive action against terrorists there.
The drone strikes, he said, violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and the established principles of international human rights and humanitarian law, and were also counter-productive for the efforts aimed at countering violent extremism.
Elaborating his remarks on the Counterterrorism Strategy, Ambassador Masood Khan asked whether the United Nations should revamp it, given that “the monster of terrorism seemed to be getting bigger” and was being used as an instrument for asymmetric warfare.
“We believe that the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy should address the defamation of certain religions and demonization of their communities that act as incitement to hatred,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“A dialogue among civilizations is an absolute imperative to prevent divergences in attitudes and thoughts from becoming fodder for the terrorist ideologies.”In addition, he said, the political and economic injustices created polarization and fuel animosities.
“We must also ensure that the measures we take to counter terrorism

remain within the framework of international law. It is important to maintain a distinction between the just and unjust causes because injustice breeds hostility and violent reactions.”
Noting that Pakistan was engaged in an “unrelenting war” against terrorism on its own soil that had cost 50,000 lives and financial losses exceeding $100 billion, he spoke of his country’s multi-pronged strategy, through military actions, but also through education, assuring that counter-terrorism measures conformed to international obligations and through legislation.
Masood Khan told the committee that Pakistan launched its military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, in North Waziristan after the failure of a dialogue process. The operation, he said, was continuing successfully. “Several hundred terrorists, including foreign operatives, have been taken out; IED and munitions factories destroyed;
huge caches of arms and communication equipment disabled. Vast swathes of land have been cleared. Terrorists’ hideouts and networks have been dismantled and their command and control system has been degraded,” he added.
“We are proud of the sacrifices of our valiant soldiers who have laid down their lives and sustained injuries to cleanse our soil of terrorism,” he said.The government, he said, had taken measures to ensure that the temporarily dislocated population as a result of these operations receives adequate relief.