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Pakistan at UN calls for 'concerted campaign' to recover arms from terrorist groups

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in the past year, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 12:42 IST

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Islamabad: Pakistan has urged the United Nations for a “concerted campaign” to recover all weapons from dreaded terrorist groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Speaking at the UN’s Fourth Review Conference of the Programme of Action (PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) on Tuesday, Ambassador Munir Akram expressed Pakistan’s “grave concern over the acquisition and use of modern and sophisticated small arms by terrorist groups such as [the] TTP”.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistani mission to the UN, Akram highlighted the “need for a concerted campaign to recover all weapons from terrorist groups like the TTP” and also called for an investigation into how these groups acquired such sophisticated weapons.

The TTP is a banned terrorist outfit which has been fighting to establish the rule of Sharia across Pakistan.

The Pakistani envoy asserted that it was the responsibility of the UN member states and that of the UN to take measures to prevent the illicit trade, transfer, and diversion of these arms, Dawn News reported.

“Terrorists and criminals do not manufacture these arms. They acquire them from illicit arms markets or receive them from entities that want to destabilise a particular region or country,” Akram said.

The envoy highlighted how the “illicit proliferation, excessive accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons" was exacerbating conflicts, fuelling terrorism, threatening peace and security, and undermining sustainable development globally.

Akram said the advent of new technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones was “deepening challenges in combating the proliferation of increasingly lethal small arms”.

Describing the UN PoA and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) as a structured framework to address the challenges pertaining to the illicit trade and trafficking of small arms and light weapons, Akram reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to both tools.

“We have strengthened our legislative frameworks, enhanced transfer controls and implemented robust measures to prevent the diversion of SALW to unauthorised users," the envoy asserted.

Pakistan has long held that the banned TTP uses safe havens in Afghanistan to launch deadly cross-border attacks.

In March, Pakistan called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to urge the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan to terminate their relationship with the TTP.

Last month, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Asif Ali Durrani stated that TTP attacks in the country increased by 60 per cent in two years, showing a significant rise since the Afghan Taliban seized Kabul in August 2021.

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in the past year, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan after the banned militant TTP ended its ceasefire with the government in November 2022.

According to an annual security report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Pakistan witnessed 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations in 2023 — marking a record six-year high.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were the primary centres of violence, accounting for over 90 per cent of all fatalities and 84 per cent of attacks, including incidents of terrorism and security forces operations.

A report released last month said provincial counterterrorism departments (CTDs) lacked clarity on militant groups’ dynamics, connections and operational strategies, apart from facing issues related to coordination, funding and intelligence gathering.

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Published 19 June 2024, 12:42 IST

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