UN should lead the fight against extremism: CPGS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Center for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), an Islamabad-based think tank, has proposed that international effort against violent extremism should be led by the United Nations.

The CPGS has further asked the UN to convene an international convention of eminent persons for developing a consensus on the intervention and prevention strategies that need to be pursued for defeating violent extremism.

“While devising a comprehensive strategy for countering violent extremism, multilateral consensual efforts are required to effectively counter it,” the President CPGS Senator Sehar Kamran said on Friday at a briefing on the recommendations framed by her think tank for dealing with the issue.

The recommendations were the outcome of a two-day international seminar on ‘Countering Violent Extremism: Global Action Plan’ which was organized by the CPGS in collaboration with the German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and a series of consultative workshops that preceded the seminar.

This process undertaken as part of CPGS’ flagship project SALAM: Innovating Means to Resolve Radical Extremism in Pakistan, which was launched in March 2013.

The Senator Sehar Kamran said that violent extremism was a global problem but different countries had different approaches to the issue.

“There remains a need to understand and tackle this menace at global level and synchronize international efforts in an effective way to achieve the best results possible,” she said.

The CPGS recommendations which would be shared with the UN and governments importantly come at a time when the Pakistani government is considering a request from the United States to join the international coalition against Daesh (Islamic State).

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“Garnering support to combat violent extremism under the umbrella of a global venture will require a centralized effort from an international body (not a state or states in isolation) that can lend the venture prestige, direction, and continuity. UN as a custodian body of international peace and security must come forward to lead this global venture,” one of the eighteen recommendations presented by the CPGS said.

Other recommendations call for greater international collaboration; adoption of a multidimensional approach for tackling the problem instead of solely relying on the military option; holding of inter-culture and inter-faith dialogue; resolution of political disputes around the world particularly Kashmir and Palestine besides supporting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan to end the conflict there.

The recommendations further suggest drawing a distinction between terrorism and the struggle for political rights; dealing with the issue of displacement; sternly countering violent groups like Daesh and all those who support them and recruit for violent actions; preventing proxy wars and sponsorship of terrorism; establishment of a consultative body on countering terrorism; promotion of democracy and the role of civil society in developing counter-narrative to the extremist ideology; and addressing the issues involved in regulation of cyber space to prevent its misuse for promotion of extremist views.

The Senator Sehar Kamran explained that the understanding behind these recommendations is that violent extremism poses grave threat to international security and is caused by the cultural, ideological, religious and racial divide; poor governance and underdevelopment; competition for regional and global dominance; and political instability, which led to rise of transnational terror outfits.

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The president CPGS recalled that despite being one of the countries hit hardest by terrorism, Pakistan had done well to fight back against the scourge of violent extremism.

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