Pakistan’s massive military operation aimed at rooting out terrorism is in its “final phase”, but the menace is not going to just go away unless there is peace on the other side of the border in strife-torn Afghanistan, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has said during a talk at Harvard University.
“I think we have beaten back the dark forces of terrorism,” the Pakistani envoy told students and faculty members in a special podcast recorded at the Kennedy School as part of its programme on the “Future of Diplomacy”.
“We will defeat them (the terrorists) eventually – it’s still a work in progress – but we have come a long way,” she said about Zarb-e-Azb, describing it as the largest anti-terrorism operation anywhere in the world. In the course of her conversation, Ambassador Lodhi discussed peace, security issues and dynamics related to the region and beyond as well as Pakistan’s role at the United Nations.
Dealing with what she called the “multi-dimensional threat of terrorism,” the Pakistani envoy said law enforcement and military measures need to be complemented by countering the terrorists’ method of exploiting fears and grievances to lure followers into their fold.
“One lesson we learnt over the past decade and a half is that because we are dealing with a multi-dimensional threat we also need a toolkit which is multi-focused and equally multi-faceted, and for that reason the kinetic part of what we need to do has to be supplemented by non-kinetic measures”.
“Law enforcement is an important dimension but so is evolving a counter narrative to that used by the men of violence who deploy certain kinds of appeals to recruit the young and impressionable.”
Setting the regional situation in context, Ambassador Lodhi said the security challenge in the region has emerged from many prolonged conflicts – Afghanistan has been in a state of conflict for over three and a half decades, while on the other side the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan remains unresolved.
“We in Pakistan call it (the Kashmir problem) the unfinished business of partition as a result of this unresolved dispute and other unsettled issues with India the region has seen tension, conflict, war and along with that have come the security challenges we face today,” the ambassador said in the special podcast. Discussing the global threat of terrorism she said this had both internal and external dimensions everywhere.
Across the world, she said, countries including the United States or other states in the Middle East were confronted with ISIS, and also having to deal with both domestic and external dimensions.
Ambassador Lodhi briefed the audience on Pakistan’s active role at the United Nations that had earned great respect for the country. “We work, of course, with other countries at the United Nations, which is an amazing place because the principal dynamic there is co-operative, not competitive,” she said.
“In fact, no country, however powerful can achieve anything at the United Nations on its own.” She said multilateral diplomacy teaches something very fundamental about diplomacy itself which is unless you cooperate with others and align your interest with the interest of other countries, you are not going to achieve any of your own goals either.
“But whatever the issue area, Pakistan has been at the forefront on development issues as also on intensely political issues as a several-time member of the Security Council,” the ambassador said. “Pakistan has played a key role in shaping some of the norms that emerged on peacekeeping as well as peace and security issues,” she said. –Business Recorder