UNITED NATIONS -  Pakistan organised a meeting last week of 15 countries representing all regions of the world ahead of next month's review of the UN's Counter Terrorism Strategy that is aimed at updating the document to more effectively combating the terrorist threat by the international community.

According to diplomatic sources, 34 representatives of 15 countries as well as UN Officials exchanged views on the strategy at a working lunch hosted by Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN. 

"Hosting a luncheon for a cross-regional group on an important and sensitive issue of counter-terrorism reflected Pakistan’s convening power in a multilateral setting," a diplomat, who attended the event,told APP.

In doing so, he said, Pakistan had placed itself in a key position by bringing together Russia, China, India, Egypt, Iran as well as other OIC members and Latin American Countries on one platform.

The UN General Assembly, which adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2006, reviews the strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States counter-terrorism priorities. 

"The upcoming review of the Strategy -- its sixth -- will provide us an opportunity to review the evolving terrorism landscape, give recommendations to address emerging challenges and threats, and propose measures to be taken by Member States and UN entities to fight terrorism," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said while welcoming her guests at the luncheon.

Stressing the need for developing preventive approaches to curb the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, she said that the phenomenon could best be understood and effective responses evolved by understanding the conditions under which it thrives and leads to terrorism.

"While we fully support the idea of developing counter messaging to address the issue of violent extremism, we believe there is need for a comprehensive international framework to address the 'drivers of violent extremism' as well," the Pakistani envoy said.

Evolving a comprehensive preventive approach, she said, was not possible without assessing the root causes responsible for violent extremism.

Maleeha Lodhi said that an erroneous impression was being created about the preventive approach that violent extremism was exclusively the product of lack of good governance, human rights, development and rule of law at the national level.

"Drivers like foreign interference and occupation, protracted conflicts, lack of rule of law at the international level, political and economic marginalisation of migrant communities are among the issues that are conspicuous by their absence in this discussion," she told her colleagues at the luncheon.

 "A balance has to be struck between internal and external factors that drive extremist ideologies in different countries and regions, as well as the role of 'foreign occupation' and 'prolonged unresolved conflicts' that have contributed significantly to the rise of violent extremism, would have to be part of any comprehensive preventive strategy." 

Participants appreciated Pakistan’s initiative to host the meeting to develop a consensus on important issue of terrorism.