Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me extend a warm welcome to all of you.
The central purpose of the United Nations is to promote and preserve international peace and security. UN peacekeepers play an indispensable role in enabling the World Organization to observe and preserve peace in so many troubled and turbulent regions.
Thus, we are here today to pay tribute not just to Pakistani peacekeepers, but peacekeepers from all other Member States who put themselves in harm's way to keep the weak and the vulnerable safe.
We are privileged to have the Secretary General with us. As he reminded us at the first-ever UN Chiefs of Defence Conference in March last year, he is among the world’s most powerful Commanders-in-Chief, leading 120,000 UN peacekeepers around the world.
We salute his leadership and commitment to peacekeeping.
Just as the nature of the threats to world peace change, so do the modalities of peacekeeping. In the age of complex conflicts and asymmetric warfare, UN Peacekeepers are exposed to much greater risk than ever before. The Blue Helmet, a symbol of protection, is itself often the target.
Despite these challenges peacekeeping remains as essential as ever for the maintenance of international peace and security.
We need to collectively respond to the challenges that modern peacekeeping faces today. Our goal is common – to ensure that in the current context, the UN's peacekeeping missions can effectively fulfill their mandates.
We stand ready to work with you, Mr. Secretary General, in pursuit of this goal. Our own approach to its norm-setting in this new era of peacekeeping remains forward looking.
Pakistani Peacekeepers serve UN peacekeeping with bravery, distinction, professionalism and dedication. The photo exhibition that you see here is testimony to this strong tradition since the early 1960s.
Our peacekeepers have not only saved lives by fulfilling their mandated task of protecting civilians, but also served as care-givers, most recently in the fight against Ebola in Liberia. Almost invariably, they also contribute to the economic and infrastructure development of the countries where they are stationed
We are proud of our peacekeepers like Shahzadi Gulfam, the first recipient of the International Female Peacekeeper Award in 2011, who is with us today.
Let me say a few words about Jibran Nasir, a civil society activist who is the brains behind the website that will just be launched.
This website highlights Pakistan's contributions to UN peacekeeping. It has a dedicated page - the Wall of Valour - paying tribute to the 145 fallen, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of international peace and security.
Our continued commitment to UN peacekeeping is a fundamental part of our policy, and a manifestation of our contribution to this vital goal.
Let me conclude by once again thanking you, Secretary General, and all of you who have come to honor our heroes for peace.