UN chief lauds Pakistan’s role in world peace

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised Pakistan’s contribution to international peace and security through its over 50 years of participation in UN peacekeeping operations across the world.

Speaking at a largely-attended reception hosted in his honour by Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan at his residence, the secretary-general said almost 9,000 Pakistani uniformed personnel were serving in six missions.

“The United Nations is grateful for their contributions.” The UN secretary-general also lauded as “outstanding” Pakistan’s presidency of the Security Council in January, noting with appreciation the holding of debates on critical themes – counter-terrorism and peacekeeping.

He said he had very useful talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who presided over the counter-terrorism debate and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, who chaired the session on peacekeeping.

At the start of the reception, it was announced that President Asif Zardari had decided to confer Hilal-e-Imtiaz on Ambassador Khan for his dedicated services to the nation.

The secretary-general congratulated the ambassador on the recognition he had received from the Government of Pakistan, saying the award was well-deserved. He called Masood Khan a “good communicator” and a “great leader of the diplomatic community here”.

Earlier, Masood Khan paid tributes to Ban Ki-moon’s leadership, saying he symbolised multilateral diplomacy.

He especially thanked him for visiting Pakistan in 2010 when the country was hit by devastating floods. He also praised Ban’s gesture of writing a personal note to Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani education activist who was shot by a Taliban militant and is now receiving treatment in England.

The reception was to be held last week but had to be postponed because of a major snow storm. Heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the United Nations, senior UN officials and members of the UN corp of correspondents attended the event.

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