UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has called for targeting the underlying causes of terrorism as part of coordinated efforts to eradicate that scourge in all its forms and manifestations amid expanding and intensifying terrorist threat around the world.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Masood Khan told the UN Security Council, “Our national experience is that there should be zero tolerance for terrorists and violent extremists”.

“That is why for the past several months we have been prosecuting an intense Zarb-e-Azb counter-terror operation for taking out terrorists, to dismantle their networks, to staunch their flow inside and outside borders and to destroy their support system”.

He said this during a high-level debate on combating terrorism through international cooperation. The Pakistani envoy, emphasising that violent extremism fuelled terrorism, underlined the need for appropriate military responses. It was also necessary to understand the conditions in which violence and terrorism thrived. In that context, he said, the building of national capacities and addressing the underlying causes was needed, as well as understanding the mindsets of those behind terror so that their ideas could be undermined. Also important was an understanding of the motivations of those engaging in extremism, the Pakistani envoy told the 15-nation Council. Calling for the implementation of United Nations measures, Masood Khan said despite the fact that terrorists mistook overtures for dialogue as appeasement, efforts were still being made to de-radicalize and reintegrate youths into the larger society, and investments were being made in social, educational, religious and economic sectors.

Strategies and solutions had to respond to the particular environment in which they were pursued, he said, noting that his country’s national counter-extremism policy had shown the importance of local leadership. Involvement of outsiders often raised suspicions. Youth responded best to direct programmes and projects, while direct advocacy was less effective.

Approaches should be underpinned by the rule of law, due process and access to justice. Exacerbation of ideological and religious differences was to be avoided, and community leaders should be involved in mediation and intercession. The Pakistani envoy noted efforts towards implementing resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) on combating terrorism and stressed the importance of coordination. The United Nations had a major role in countering terrorism and he suggested the possibility of establishing a special representative on extremism, he said.