By Huma Imtiaz
Published: September 23, 2011
NEW YORK: In a packed room at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, members of 29 countries and the EU pledged to work together in counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.
At the Global Counter-terrorism Forum Launch, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that one of the biggest tasks ahead of them is to prevent people from setting out on the path of radicalisation.
According to a press release, the GCTF is a new multilateral counter-terrorism body, aimed by the US government to “build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism. It will provide a unique platform for senior counter-terrorism policymakers and experts from around the world to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilise resources for addressing key counter-terrorism challenges. With its primary focus on capacity building in relevant areas, the GCTF aims to increase the number of countries capable of dealing with the terrorist threats within their borders and regions.”
The event was addressed by the foreign ministers of Turkey, China, Egypt and the UAE amongst other countries. UAE also offered to open an international centre of excellence for countering violent extremism as well.
Secretary Clinton announced that several countries had pledged a total of $75 million to help strengthen institutions that were working on fighting extremism in the countries.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan was a victim of terrorism, and prior to 9/11, there had only been one suicide bombing in the country, and in the last ten years, nearly 300. “Pakistan has suffered deaths of 35000 people”, of which 5000, she highlighted, were members of the forces.
The event also featured a moving short film produced by Global Survivors Network, featuring accounts of those that had lost their lives in acts of violence. Particularly poignant was the tale of Tahir Malik, who lost his wife in a bomb blast in 2009 in Islamabad.