UN Secretary General attends Pakistan Peacekeepers Day at UN Headquarters

New York, 02 June, 2016

Pakistan’s Peacekeeping Day was marked at the UN by praise for Pakistan’s professional military from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and appreciation by representatives of other countries.

At a largely attended event organized by the Pakistan Mission to UN Wednesday, the week-long photo exhibition was inaugurated by the Secretary General. This showed Pakistan’s longstanding contribution to UN peacekeeping over the past half century.

Lauding the services of Pakistan to UN Peacekeeping, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that he has had the privilege of seeing first-hand “the professionalism and commitment of Pakistani police and military personnel.”

He also credited Pakistani units for the ‘much improved political and security situation’ in places like Cote d’ Ivoire andLiberia. He appreciated Pakistan’s active engagement in New York to enhance peacekeeping performance as well as the services of senior Pakistani military and police officers serving in the field.

“For well over half a century Pakistani peacekeeping troops have seen injustice in far and off places and been forces for a better world”, Ban Ki-Moon said, adding that the UN looked forward to “continuing contributions to international peace and security' in the years to come.”

In her welcome remarks, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi called for a collective response 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”, she said.

She assured the Secretary General of Pakistan’s readiness to work with the UN in pursuit of this goal adding, “Our own approach to its norm-setting in this new era of peacekeeping remains forward looking”.

She said that Pakistan’s continued commitment to UN peacekeeping was a fundamental part of its policy and a manifestation of “our contribution to this vital goal”.

Pakistani Peacekeepers, Dr. Lodhi said, serve the UN with bravery, distinction, professionalism and dedication. “The photo exhibition that you see here is testimony to this strong tradition since the early 1960s”, she added.

Recounting the services of Pakistani peacekeepers, she said that they 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”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi proudly referred to the Pakistani peacekeeper Shahzadi Gulfam, who was the first recipient of the International Female Peacekeeper Award in 2011. She was also present at the event.

Ambassador Lodhi praised Jibran Nasir, a civil society activist and founder of the NGO, Never Forget Pakistan, who was the brain child for website that was also launched at the event. The website highlights Pakistan's contributions to UN peacekeeping.

Later Jibran Nasir in his presentation of the website, especially highlighted a page - the Wall of Valour - dedicated to the 145 fallen, who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of international peace and security.

Accompanied by Ambassador Lodhi, the Secretary General took keen interest in the display of photos at the exhibition, which depicted Pakistani peacekeepers performing duties in various Missions around the world. He said, “the pictures on display are a testament to the long and rich history” of Pakistan’s commitment and contribution to UN peacekeeping.

The event was attended by senior diplomats, Military advisers, official UN Secretariat, civil society organizations and media.

Ambassador Lodhi thanked all the participants came “to honor our heroes for peace”, whom she said have fallen but not forgotten.