G77 committed for tackling challenges in stolen assets’ recovery, halting illicit financial flows: Munir Akram

UNSC urges to hold accountable masterminds of terror attacks against Pakistan, prevent India from misusing UN tech body

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UNITED NATIONS, Group of 77 and China stands for broad-based cooperation on international tax policy and to combat associated illicit financial flows, Pakistan UN Ambassador Munir Akram, who is the chairman of the group, a coalition of 134 developing countries designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests, has said.

“The Group also believes that there is need to address challenges faced by affected states in the recovery of assets, as well as to strengthen international coordination in relation to illicit financial flows and assets recovery and return,” he told a panel of the meeting dedicated towards galvanizing action towards implementing the ground-breaking plan, known as Our Common Agenda, launched last year by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“On illicit financial flows, the Group reiterates the need to strengthen international cooperation on tax matters,” while recognizing with concern that there was no single global inclusive forum for tax cooperation at the intergovernmental level.

The G77 reiterates its call for the upgrading of the existing Committee of Experts in Tax Matters to an intergovernmental body, with experts representing their respective governments.

Noting the UN chief’s proposal to establish a new joint structure on financial integrity and illicit financial flows, the group seeks more details, the G77 chairman said.

Backing a move for convening a biennial summit to promote a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient global economy, Ambassador Akram said that the Group intends to propose some elements for discussion, including on the reform of the global financial architecture.

The Group, he said, affirms that international trade is a key component of measures to promote inclusive economic growth and development, as well as poverty eradication, and supports the element of fair trading system.

The Group also supports the need for the business community to align their business practices with global goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The United Nations, Ambassador Akram said should support governments in achieving inclusivity keeping in view national circumstances and respective capabilities of the countries and in line with global agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

A Pakistani diplomat has called on the UN Security Council to hold accountable the “masterminds” behind supporting, financing, and sponsoring hundreds of cross-border terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

At the same time, Umer Siddique, a counselor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN, said it was also “essential” that Afghanistan’s territory was not used as a platform or a safe haven by any terrorist group.

“We trust the new authorities in Afghanistan will succeed in ensuring this in accordance with their commitments,” he said in his remarks to the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) on Monday.

It was the first open briefing on the work of UN CTC after India assumed its chairmanship in January 2022.

While in the past the focus of such meetings had been on exchanging views on best practices, capacity building and technical cooperation in countering terrorism, diplomatic observers here took note of India’s move to turn the meeting into a venue for casting negative aspersions on Pakistan, contravening the norms of behaviour by Security Council Committees’ chairpersons.

Delivering India’s statement, Rajesh Parihar, a counselor at the Indian mission, said that the world had witnessed the horrors of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the 2016 Pathankot attack, and the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack, adding, “We all know from where the perpetrators of these attacks came from.”

Rejecting the Indian insinuations, Siddique, the Pakistani representative, stated that irrefutable evidence has been provided to the 15-member Council on external sponsorship of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan, and, in an reference to India, added, “We all know who has been supporting and financing” terror groups
like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA).

Drawing attention to the ongoing human rights violations by Indian occupation forces in Kashmir, he called for preventing the misuse of counter-terrorism norms to deny the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination under foreign occupation.

Referring to India’s bid to politicize UN technical bodies, the Pakistani representative said, “We must not allow the hijacking of technical bodies such as this to serve bilateral programmes of hate and aggression.”

He also called out India for opposing UN initiates to address the rising number of terrorist attacks directed against Muslims based on Islamophobia, pointing out that it was “only those giving state patronage to mainstream Islamophobia in their domestic political discourse as manifested by calls of genocide against Muslims, who were opposing such initiatives.”

In this context, Siddiqui welcomed the recognition of terrorist threats arising from xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance by the UN Security Council and called for greater focus on the issue.

After today’s meeting, several diplomats expressed serious concern at India’s attempt to use the occasion to push its domestic agenda that they believe was detrimental to the credibility of the UN body.

They voiced apprehensions that India’s chairmanship would undermine the work of the Committee for “bilateralizing” its work, and compromising its impartiality.

“Our worst fears have been realized today,” a UN diplomat commented on the condition of anonymity. “It is quite unprecedented. The biggest casualty of such an approach will be the trust in the UN mechanisms,” she said.

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