Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, in the Open Debate of the Security Council on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: protection of critical infrastructure” (13 February 2017)

Mr. President,

We thank the delegation of Ukraine for convening today’s debate on such an important topic.

We also welcome Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to the Security Council.

Mr. President,

Among the myriad threats endangering global security, terrorism has emerged as one of the most complex and imposing challenge of our times.

Our dependence on critical infrastructure makes this an attractive target for terrorists of all stripes. Terrorist attacks on infrastructure aim to disrupt life, cause widespread fear and chaos, retard socio-economic development and impede regional economic cooperation.

Advances in the world of communication technologies, making the world inter dependent as well as inter connected, and the increasing use of encrypted communication by terrorist organizations like ISIL have amplified the threat of a terrorist attack on financial and energy hubs.

National resolve and collective endeavor are necessary to protect the infrastructure that is essential for the welfare and progress of our peoples.

Mr. President,

My country has confronted and combated terrorism over several decades with courage and conviction. Our resilience has been tested time and again, from the barbaric attack on the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad in 2008, to the destruction of military equipment in the attack on an air force base in Kamra in 2012, to the attack on Karachi Airport in 2014. These attacks were aimed at destroying and disrupting the life of my countrymen, weakening our defense forces and demoralizing the nation. But they only strengthened the resolve of our people to continue with efforts to eliminate this scourge.

Over the past four years, Pakistan has adopted a multi-pronged strategy: a military-led operation Zarb-e-Azb has successfully destroyed terrorist infrastructure and a National Action Plan, undergird by a strong national consensus, has effectively countered the narrative of terrorist and extremist organizations. This comprehensive approach has succeeded in expelling terrorist organizations from our territory and greatly constrained their ability to carry out lethal attacks – as evident from the dramatic decline in the number of such attacks, despite this morning’s cowardly attack in Lahore.

What Pakistan continues to face today are increasingly externally supported terrorists. One of their principal targets is the major infrastructure we are currently building in Pakistan in order to undermine our economic accomplishments and stability.

Mr. President,

State control of infrastructure systems and its role in determining how to effectively protect infrastructure is critical. The diversity of the threat necessitates a coherent response by all national stakeholders, based on the specific environment of each individual country.

International and regional cooperation also remains vital in countering the threat of terrorism. At the regional level, sharing of information and threat assessment, as well as effective border management and sharing of best practices can significantly enhance national capacities to deter and defeat terrorism.

It was in this spirit that Pakistan joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Convention on Suppression of Terrorism. Unfortunately, SAARC as an organization has become a victim of the hostile agenda of some of our neighbors. This has severely hampered the ability of our region to respond to its multiple challenges, including terrorism.

Although we remain committed to strengthening regional cooperation to combat terrorism, Pakistan continues to suffer from region-based and supported acts of terrorism. We are determined and fully capable of repelling such state sponsored terrorism.

Mr. President,

The UN can and should play a role in enhancing Member States’ capacity in their counter terrorism efforts. The UNCTITF working group on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure is indeed playing a positive role in this regard.

The UN also provides a platform to assist member states in identifying potential threats and risks related to facilities, develop a sound response strategy and partnerships to implement these strategies.

Mr. President,

In addressing the terrorist threat, it is essential for the world community to analyze and understand the phenomena in all its complexities. The global campaign against terrorism cannot be reduced to a slogan slandering Islam or any other religion or race.

It is also important to examine the reasons why, despite the global campaign to counter terrorism, the threat continues to evolve and emerge in new and more virulent forms and ideologies and across ever extending geographic regions, posing a pervasive threat to international and national peace and security.

Pakistan remains convinced that to defeat and eliminate terrorism, at least terrorism which is not state-sponsored, it is essential to address the underlying causes that create terrorist recruits – unresolved internal and inter-state conflicts, illegal use of force, external aggression and intervention, foreign occupation, denial of self determination, political and economic injustice and the marginalization and alienation of communities and groups.

It is only by addressing these underlying causes can the world community erode the appeal of the narratives of hate and hostility which provide the oxygen for the existence and growth of terrorism.

I thank you.