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Pakistan reiterates demand for end to US drone strikes.

UNITED NATIONS -- At the United Nations' Pakistan has called for an end to US drone strikes on its soil to stop further casualties and sufferings.

Ambassador Masood Khan told the General Assembly's sixth legal Committee that the use of armed drones in the border areas is a continued violation of Pakistan's sovereignty' international law and human rights.

He emphasized that the war against terrorism must be waged within the framework of international law.

Speaking in a debate on terrorism' he said the use of drones resulted in casualties of innocent men' women and children leading to disaffection' alienation' and psycho-social trauma among the affected population centers.

"The use of armed drones in the border areas of Pakistan is a continued violation of our sovereignty, international law, and international human rights and humanitarian law," Ambassador Masood Khan told the General Assembly's sixth (legal) Committee on Monday, pointing out that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had raised the drone issue in his address during the 193-member body's high-level debate.

Speaking in a debate on terrorism, he said the use of drones resulted in casualties of innocent men, women and children leading to disaffection, alienation, and psycho-social trauma among the affected population centers.

These strikes were also detrimental to Pakistan's efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism, as the entire country's population becomes hostage for reprisals by terrorists who target their innocent victims at random in any part of Pakistani territory.

Masood Khan said that the complex challenge of terrorism defied simplified solutions, and that a piecemeal effort would not eliminate its scourge.

Similarly, a uni-dimensional approach focused exclusively on operational or political measures would not produce desired results. "We need a comprehensive approach to stare down this hydra-headed monster which has national, regional and international tentacles," he said.

Pakistan, he said, was pursuing a comprehensive approach. "We deter, by military means, the terror unleashed on our civilians and security personnel. We have allocated resources for the development of the areas which have been hit hardest by terrorism."

He told the committee that Prime Minister Sharif had offered dialogue to end violence and wean young men off extremism in an effort to bring them back to the national mainstream.

"With unwavering commitment to fight terrorism, Pakistan has deployed more than 150,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan," he said, adding 1,707 border posts to interdict Al-Qaeda/Taliban members.

The issue of terrorism has both regional and global dimensions, the Pakistani envoy said. "It is imperative that all countries do more to combat this menace. Terrorism is a common threat that needs common solutions in a cooperative framework."

Pakistan has also adopted a National Counter Terrorism Authority Bill to set up a new organization that will integrate counter-terrorism efforts of different bodies, and a process of sweeping reforms started to amend Anti-Terrorism Act for accepting forensic and electronic evidence and taking preventive measures against targeted killing and kidnapping for ransom.

The UN's 2006 Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, he noted, now addresses the root causes and conditions leading to the spread of terrorism; and aims to build a more harmonious environment among major civilizations.

"The strategy should more sharply focus on the unjust defamation of certain religions and communities in the context of the fight against terrorism," he said. "The unfair and biased portrayal of Islam and Islamic beliefs and the acts of incitement and hate-speech against the faith of nearly 1.2 billion Muslims exacerbates the divergence in attitudes and creates misperceptions between the Islamic world and the West.

"An honest dialogue between different civilizations is a political imperative. Terrorism and extremism should not be associated with any religion, race, ethnicity, faith, value system, culture or society."
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 9, 2013
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