PAKISTAN

 

STATEMENT

 

BY

 

H.E. MR. ABDUL SATTAR

FOREIGN MINISTER OF PAKISTAN

 

AT

 

THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

ON 18 SEPTEMBER, 2000.

 

 


Mr. President,

 

It gives me great pleasure to join preceding speakers in offering you the Pakistan delegation's warm felicitations on your election. We pledge to you our wholehearted cooperation in your efforts dedicated to the success of this historic 55th session of the General Assembly.

 

I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the leadership of Secretary General Kofi Annan. His commitment and dynamism have reinforced the rightful role of the United Nations in addressing the challenges of our times.

 

The millennial transition is unique in the lives of those fortunate to witness it. We are fortunate, too, that we start this session in the glow of the Millennium Summit.

 

We shall be inspired in our work by the ringing commitment of our leaders to values and principles fundamental to maintenance of peace and security; by their resolve to free peoples from the scourge of war, on one hand, and to free humanity from dehumanizing poverty. Their determination to protect the environment, promote human rights, democracy and good governance, and meet the special needs of Africa, will be our guide and mandate in our deliberations.

 

It will be our duty, at this and future sessions of the General Assembly, to translate the Declaration into action. This is no doubt a difficult challenge. But it is a challenge we must meet. Only thus can we contribute to the building of a future better than the past.

 

To all these ends - at once necessary as well as noble - our leaders pledged to spare no efforts to make the United Nations a more effective instrument of international cooperation.

 

"What is needed" if I may borrow an apt phrase from Secretary General's Report, "is a stronger commitment to action." Action to achieve peace, and action to achieve development.

 

Each one of our States can and must take action on both fronts. But individual efforts cannot achieve optimum results. All of us need to work, with dedication and a strong sense of commitment, in a cooperative and harmonious environment to promote the twin objectives for a better future.

 

II - Promoting Peace

 

The Millennium Declaration emphasizes the determination of world leaders to save peoples from the scourge of war. The Secretary General's Report highlights peace and security as "a central objective of the United Nations at the dawn of the twenty-first century, as it was when the Organization was founded over half a century ago." The problem is how to prevent war and achieve peace. The solution is not difficult to find. "What is needed is a stronger commitment to action."



            Given that commitment, crises and conflicts can be prevented and peace can be achieved. Peace is not merely possible. It is realizable through a civilized approach to conflict resolution. Based on justice and international law, and the principles of its Charter, the United Nations can ensure effective remedial action to maintain peace and security.

 

People watched with relief as the world community joined to prevent genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo. We similarly greeted settlement of the East Timor issue, with the commendable cooperation of the Government of Indonesia and the imaginative contribution of the Secretary General. The imaginative and diligent efforts of his Representative, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, to promote the settlement are a mater of pride for the people of Pakistan. These are examples of how the United Nations and the international community can and should act to address conflicts by implementing its principles and decisions.

 

In the Middle East, too, the peace process has made steady if agonizingly slow progress. For the gains so far made, tribute is due to the idealistic efforts of peacemakers and the realistic approaches of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The residual issues are difficult and delicate, involving as they do principles of law and equity, on one hand, and deep emotions, on the other. Yet, we ardently hope that the peace process will succeed soon. Final settlement of the Palestinian Question will be a crowning achievement and a momentous contribution to peace in the Middle East.

 

Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425 are imbued with an irreplaceable international sanctity. Their implementation involves the prestige and credibility of the United Nations. An end to occupation and reversion of Holy Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty will ensure reconciliation and durable peace in the Middle East.

 

Mr. President,

 

The Kashmir Question, involving the life and future of the people of the State, has been the root cause of tensions in South Asia since 1947. Its settlement is an indispensable condition for peace and stability. Ten million people of the state will not be denied their right to freedom. They seek nothing more than the fulfilment of the commitments contained in the resolutions of the Security Council. Their right to decide their own future cannot lapse. Passage of fifty-three years has only compounded the tragedy of the Kashmiri people and prolonged their travail. The long delay has only heightened the terrible dangers inherent in this festering dispute.

 

According to the All Parties Hurriyet (Freedom) Conference, seventy-two thousand Kashmiris have been killed since 1989. Thousands more have been tortured and maimed or disappeared. The massive human right violation in Kashmir, and the repression and brutalities perpetrated on the Kashmiri people by occupation forces are a grave crime of state terrorism.

 

In a disparate attempt to undermine and suppress Kashmiri Freedom Movement, the perpetrators of repression and violence against the Kashmiri people have tried to portray the Kashmiri freedom struggle as terrorism. Such propaganda did not carry credibility in the past. It cannot do so now. It is familiar to all those who have won freedom after protracted struggle against colonialism and foreign occupation.



            Given that commitment, crises and conflicts can be prevented and peace can be achieved. Peace is not merely possible. It is realizable through a civilized approach to conflict resolution. Based on justice and international law, and the principles of its Charter, the United Nations can ensure effective remedial action to maintain peace and security.

 

People watched with relief as the world community joined to prevent genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo. We similarly greeted settlement of the East Timor issue, with the commendable cooperation of the Government of Indonesia and the imaginative contribution of the Secretary General. The imaginative and diligent efforts of his Representative, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, to promote the settlement are a mater of pride for the people of Pakistan. These are examples of how the United Nations and the international community can and should act to address conflicts by implementing its principles and decisions.

 

In the Middle East, too, the peace process has made steady if agonizingly slow progress. For the gains so far made, tribute is due to the idealistic efforts of peacemakers and the realistic approaches of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The residual issues are difficult and delicate, involving as they do principles of law and equity, on one hand, and deep emotions, on the other. Yet, we ardently hope that the peace process will succeed soon. Final settlement of the Palestinian Question will be a crowning achievement and a momentous contribution to peace in the Middle East.

 

Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425 are imbued with an irreplaceable international sanctity. Their implementation involves the prestige and credibility of the United Nations. An end to occupation and reversion of Holy Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty will ensure reconciliation and durable peace in the Middle East.

 

Mr. President,

 

The Kashmir Question, involving the life and future of the people of the State, has been the root cause of tensions in South Asia since 1947. Its settlement is an indispensable condition for peace and stability. Ten million people of the state will not be denied their right to freedom. They seek nothing more than the fulfilment of the commitments contained in the resolutions of the Security Council. Their right to decide their own future cannot lapse. Passage of fifty-three years has only compounded the tragedy of the Kashmiri people and prolonged their travail. The long delay has only heightened the terrible dangers inherent in this festering dispute.

 

According to the All Parties Hurriyet (Freedom) Conference, seventy-two thousand Kashmiris have been killed since 1989. Thousands more have been tortured and maimed or disappeared. The massive human right violation in Kashmir, and the repression and brutalities perpetrated on the Kashmiri people by occupation forces are a grave crime of state terrorism.

 

In a disparate attempt to undermine and suppress Kashmiri Freedom Movement, the perpetrators struggle as terrorism. Such propaganda did not carry credibility in the past. It cannot do so now. It is familiar to all those who have won freedom after protracted struggle against colonialism and foreign occupation.


 

Pakistan has consistently vowed for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Two years ago, the Security Council once again emphasized the need for solving the dispute which has been the source of tension and conflict in the region. The provisions of Article 33 of the Charter place an obligation on Member States to settle disputes through recourse to negotiation, inquiry, conciliation, mediation, arbitration or adjudication. Each and all of these means are acceptable to Pakistan.

 

Faced with intransigent rejection of peaceful means, the Security Council has a responsibility to act. The Charter empowers the Security Council to do so. "What is needed is a stronger commitment to action." In its absence, mere talk of crisis prevention and dispute resolution will lack credibility.

 

Mr. President,

 

Afghanistan remains trapped in a terrible tragedy. Its protracted war of liberation in the 1980s left it devastated. The internecine war in the 1990s has inflicted further ravages. The economy of the country is in shambles. Drought in Southern Afghanistan has added to the misery of the people of this ancient land.

 

Tied to the Afghan people by bonds of geography, history and culture, the people of Pakistan view the tragedy in Afghanistan with a deep sense of sympathy. Despite economic stringency, we continue to provide shelter to one and a half million Afghan refugees. Interruption of food supply from or via Pakistan would further aggravate hardship and trigger a fresh influx. That is why Pakistan is opposed to sanctions that hurt people.

 

No other people except Afghans themselves have suffered more from conflict and instability in Afghanistan than the people of Pakistan. It is natural therefore that Pakistan supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We were encouraged to note a similarity of approaches by the Foreign Ministers of the six contiguous countries, the Russian Federation and the United States at the Six-plus­Two Group meeting on September 15 convened by the Secretary General. Pooling their resources and influence, we should make more energetic efforts to persuade the Afghan parties and assist the Secretary General of the United Nations in his efforts to promote a broad-based government acceptable to the Afghan political parties and ethnic groups.

 

We support the Islamic Republic of Iran for leading a parallel effort for peace in Afghanistan on behalf of the OIC. We also appreciate the efforts recently undertaken by Turkmenistan. In our view, all these efforts complement and reinforce each other.

 

In his Report, the Secretary General has referred to influx of war material from outside. Pakistan urges not only a cease-fire but also a ban on supply of military equipment to Afghan parties and the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for its enforcement.

 

We also remain cognizant of the imperative of respect for sovereignty. The Afghan people have a history of fierce resistance against outside interference. Engagement with the Afghan government offers better hope of amelioration than attempts to drive it into a corner of isolation.



            The United Nations has been providing humanitarian relief in Afghanistan. Programmes aimed at rehabilitation and reconstruction may help bring the country back into the international mainstream sooner. It is also the more compassionate way.

 

Pakistan, itself a victim of terrorism, condemns this evil in all its forms and manifestations whether committed by individuals or groups or states. Our Government has ratified nine international conventions against terrorism and we join all international efforts to combat this menace.

 

Mr. President,

 

Pakistan has historically supported all proposals and agreements aimed at the limitation, progressive reduction and eventual elimination of weapons of mass destruction. For over a quarter century, we made efforts and initiated proposals to keep our area free of nuclear weapons. Also, Pakistan has been prepared to support universal and non-discriminatory measures and proposals. Pakistan voted in favour of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996 and intended to sign it along with all others, especially the designated States. The process of bringing that treaty into force was derailed due to events not of our making. Even then, Pakistan was not the first to conduct tests in 1998. It will not be the first to resume them. We still hope the treaty can be brought into force. Pakistan will not obstruct the realization of that aim. Our Government continues efforts to build domestic consensus in favour of the treaty.

 

Meanwhile, restraint and responsibility remain the guiding principles of our nuclear policy. Pakistan will not enter into any nuclear arms race. Our sole aim is to retain minimum credible deterrence . I wish to reaffirm in this august assembly, our nuclear capability is only meant to deter aggression against Pakistan, it poses a threat to no country.

 

We support efforts aimed at prevention of vertical or horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the past year we have further strengthened domestic regulations against export of nuclear equipment or materials. Our power reactors are under international safeguards.

 

Pakistan is prepared to cooperate in efforts for restraints in development, production and deployment of ballistic missiles. To be successful, such efforts must be non-discriminatory. Their aim must be stabilization of the situation.

 

Any use of nuclear weapons is inconceivable. However, the Charter obliges us to refrain from the threat or use of force. The world community should, therefore, emphasize No-First-Use of force, nuclear or conventional.

 

At the global level, Pakistan supports calls for continued observance of the ABM Treaty. Militarization of outer-space will be a disservice to hopes for maintenance of existing restraint and stability.

 

Pakistan will participate in negotiations on the proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty and make a positive contribution to evolving a fair and equitable text which all countries can support.



III - Achieving Development

 

In his address to the Millennium Summit, the Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf stated "the best assurance for the consolidation of global peace lies in the economic development and prosperity of all regions and all peoples. Economic progress in one region supports and complements prosperity in the other." Development is not a zero-sum game. Accordingly, the Millennium Declaration commits the world leaders to "making the right to development a reality for everyone" and freeing the entire human race from want.

 

Globalization had raised hopes as it offered opportunities for faster economic growth, higher living standards and accelerated benefits from free flow of knowledge and technology. But there have been disappointments. Experience has shown that benefits of globalization have been uneven and the number of people living in poverty has increased. Technological and information revolutions have accentuated global inequality and a new digital divide has led to marginalization of a large number of developing countries. Global trade regimes benefit the rich and the South has become poorer. Competition, standards, a variety of non-tariff barriers, increasingly complex trading practices, protectionism in selected sectors such as agriculture, restrictions on technology transfers, all militate against the interests of the developing countries. They find it hard to secure adequate returns for their produce or attract investment to improve their competitiveness. As a result, economic disparities are widening. This belies the promise of free market to ensure well being for all.

 

The failure of the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle last November and dissenting voices heard in Washington last April make it clear that the international economic system needs to be fixed. A concerted global action is required for sustained development to benefit and protect weaker economies. The industrialized countries have a special responsibility to adopt bold initiatives. Professions for the eradication of poverty must first lead to the establishment of international economic policy framework responsive to the needs of the developing countries.

 

One important area is the debt issue. In one of the interactive dialogues, the Secretary General had proposed that the United Nations could mediate between creditors and debtors to address the debt problem. We welcome this proposal. Our Chief Executive, speaking at the same meeting had suggested that developing indebted countries should be allowed to utilize resources allocated to debt servicing for development of social sector, especially education and health care. Substantive debt relief through innovative approaches, will go a long way to help developing countries, ensure global harmony and regenerate new economic partnership between the North and the South.

 

A holistic approach to deal with problems of development and poverty eradication is necessary. While we welcome the Secretary General's initiative to bridge the digital divide, the emphasis must remain on addressing mass literacy, capacity building, infrastructure and basic health facilities. Similarly, multilateral trade regimes should be development oriented. Environmental concerns for prudent use of natural resources must be pursued simultaneously with emphasis on sustained economic growth in the South.

 

The High-level International Inter-governmental Event on Financing for Development which will be held next year, must involve world's finance, trade and development organizations to discuss the issue comprehensively. This conference should promote good governance at international level. It must address how we can manage globalization appropriately so that its benefits reach everyone ensuring universal prosperity.

 


Mr. President,

 

The upsurge of democracy in the past decade has been a good omen for the start of the new millennium. This salutary trend can only be sustained through equitable economic development. Unless the developing nations are able to have a fair share in rising levels of global prosperity, the advocacy of democratic values and human and social standards will remain hollow.

 

In Pakistan, we are addressing the challenges of both economic revival and institutional reforms that emphasize accountability, good governance and devolution of power to grass root level political institutions. In this endeavour, the government is banking on the support and enthusiasm of our people. We believe that democracy, first and foremost, is empowerment of the people based on strong institutions.

 

Mr. President,

 

The world community is well aware of the ravages inflicted on fragile economies of developing countries and their poor people as a result of corruption and transfer of illegal funds to safe havens abroad. They are often the worst sufferers of such malpractices due to socio-economic forces within and banking practices outside their countries.

 

Welfare of humanity in developing countries demands international cooperation for prevention of corruption. Such cooperation was urged in General Assembly Resolutions 53/176 of 15 December 1998 and 54/205 of 23 December 1999. Tike South Summit in Havana in April 2000 requested remedial action.

 

Transfers of illicit funds from developing countries will not make the rich countries much richer, but they do make the poor countries poorer. It is a paradox that some rich countries have such lax laws that provide safe havens and encourage private banks to launder illicit funds looted by corrupt persons from poor countries by facilitating establishment of secret accounts. That amounts to encouragement of plunder, indeed of financial terrorism.

 

The nexus between corruption and failure of democracy has been recognized also in the Final Declaration issued by the meeting of the Community of Democracies in Warsaw on 25-27 June 2000. It emphasized the need to "combat corruption, which corrodes democracy." We need, therefore, to take effective action. We propose, the General Assembly should proclaim a policy of "Zero Tolerance" of all types of corruption and urge a ban on laundering of illicit funds.

 

IV- Strengthening of the United Nations

 

The United Nations has emerged as the only forum with universal recognition and authority to address the entire spectrum of issues relating to human aspirations for peace, justice and development.



            To meet the growing expectations this world body must be strengthened. Its role must be reinforced for ensuring a better world future.

 

We support the call for enhancing the capacity of the United Nation in the areas of conflict prevention and peace-keeping. In this regard we commend Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi and members of the high level Panel for their extensive report. As an important participant in the UN peace keeping operations, we look forward to discussions on the useful ideas and concepts that have been presented in the report for enabling the United Nations to respond more effectively to the existing and incipient conflicts and threats to international peace and security.

 

No other aspect of reform of the United Nations merits as close attention as the need to make the Security Council more democratic, transparent and accountable. Periodic elections of a larger number of Members will make the Security Council not only more representative but also more responsive to the aspirations of the world community. That will enhance the capacity of this vital organ to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the realization of the purposes of the Organization. That objective will not be achieved by the creation of new centers of privilege which detract from the cardinal principle of sovereign equality of states. For the same reason, the decision-making process needs to be made more democratic.

 

For the Security Council to command universal respect, its reform should command the general agreement of the membership. Nothing should be done in haste or in a manner that divides the membership and impairs the authority and prestige of the Council.

 

Mr. President,

 

In the increasingly interactive world, we share the desire with other nations for a peaceful environment and mutually beneficial cooperation, and see a pivotal role for the United Nations. The universality of the United Nations gives it the stature and legitimacy that is unprecedented in history. The Organization should enter the 21 St century by demonstrating a clear commitment to address, and resolve, the key delopmental and security challenges facing our peoples. It must be enabled to apply its immutable principles and iii decisions consistently and forcefully to ensure durable peace, sustained economic progress and better fixture for all humanity.

 

Thank you Mr. President.