Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani participated in the 14th Sovereign Challenge Conference organized by US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) at Philadelphia (PA), United States on April 8, 2016.
The theme of the Conference – Identity, Independence, and Institutions: The evolution of Nations and Current Threats to Sovereignty- was Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Challenges and Response.
He was invited by U.S. Commander Special Operations to present Pakistan’s perspective on CVE – its challenges and response in the international war against terrorism.
The Conference was attended by top military brass of the U.S. Armed forces and a large number of senior foreign military attaches of partner countries based in Washington DC. The high profile event is hosted by U.S. military every year since 2004.
In his remarks Ambassador Jilani traced the genesis of extremism and terrorism in the region. He expounded that Pakistan has historically been a moderate society and a longstanding ally of the United States. He noted that violent extremism, despite being a formidable challenge for Pakistan, was rejected and disdained by an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis.
He urged the international community to view the rise of extremism worldwide from the perspective of inter-state and intra-state conflicts. The international discriminatory regime, political and economic injustices, unresolved international political disputes are fueling the dangerous ideologies and prompting violent responses by non-state actors.
Ambassador Jilani argued that the Western powers shared responsibility for current turmoil in Afghanistan, which was altogether abandoned after the Soviet withdrawal and end of the Cold War.
He urged the partner countries to understand the complexities of the war against terrorism and the role of ill-advised policies in fomenting militancy particularly in Afghanistan, Middle East and other parts of the world.
The Ambassador narrated, in detail, the momentous role played by Pakistan during the Afghan Jihad and for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He called for acknowledgement of tremendous sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.
Ambassador Jilani opined that Jammu and Kashmir dispute had aggravated militant and Jihadi sentiment in the region. He called upon the international community to play an assertive role for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.
While narrating the series of unprecedented military and counter-terrorism operations successfully launched by Pakistan Armed Forces in FATA, he reaffirmed the unflinching resolve of Pakistan to eliminate the menace of terrorism.
He urged that the extremist ideology needed to be defeated at multiple fronts. A counter-narrative to extremism required public support and economic development.
He emphasized that the Government was fully committed to the National Action Plan (NAP) that enjoyed full national and political consensus. Drawing attention to the measures taken by the Government internally as part of NAP he expressed confidence that Pakistan would emerge stronger from the battle of ideologies. The resilience and determination of the nation against terrorist was a beacon of hope for the country.
He categorically dismissed misperceptions that certain militant groups were being discriminated by Pakistan in the war against terrorism. He stressed on the need for close cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to eliminate the remnants of terrorists infrastructure.
Ambassador Jilani noted that military operations were progressing successfully including Operation Zarb-e-Azb and over 90% of North Waziristan had been secured. The Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) had already started returning to their homes.
He emphasized that an ascending economic growth as a result of the government policies had contributed to stability in the country and engendered optimism in the public. The government had taken stringent measures to check spreading extremist mindset through social media. The religious schools were being brought under the mainstream education system and employment opportunities were being created.
The Government had introduced a host of economic and employment incentive schemes for the youth to expand horizons for their growth. He also cited an inclusive approach by the Government to take on board the Ulema, media, academia and other sections of society in building a moderate and healthy socio-economic milieu.
Ambassador Jilani highlighted that Prime Minister Sharif’s government was committed to accomplish Pakistan’s ultimate objectives of peace, security and economic development and it was utilizing all resources to this end with full earnestness.
Senior military officials including U.S. Commander Special Operations also addressed the Conference. Ambassador Jilani’s speech was widely appreciated by the participants. The senior military forum in the United States offered a unique opportunity for presentation of Pakistan’s narrative.
April 08, 2016