ISLAMABAD: Rich tributes were paid to Pakistani blue helmets at the UN where the Permanent Mission of Pakistan organized a photo exhibition showcasing the country’s stellar record in Peacekeeping operations.
The photo exhibition was inaugurated by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi. Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo (where Pakistan’s troops are also deployed) joined Ambassador Lodhi in the inauguration ceremony
Highlighting Pakistan’s consistent commitment to peacekeeping, USG Lacroix said that Pakistan was not only a leading troop contributor but also a leader in providing ideas about peacekeeping and ways to improve this important UN enterprise.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to increase the deployment of female peacekeepers and said that Pakistan had not only achieved the UN target but had also done it in record time.
Referring to Pakistan’s leadership role as the co-chair of the Group of Friends of troop-contributing countries, USG Lacroix said that the Secretary-General attached great importance to the ideas coming out of this group.
The Permanent Representative of Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavit also spoke on the occasion and acknowledged the contribution of Pakistani troops in maintaining peace in his country. Congo was the first mission in which Pakistani peacekeepers participated in 1960 and it continues to host the largest contingent of Pakistani blue helmets.
Ambassador Lodhi said in her remarks said that the exhibition, which will be on all week, was organized to showcase Pakistan’s service to global peace and security and pay homage to its Peacekeepers.
“Over almost six decades, Pakistan has contributed over 200,000 troops to 46 UN peacekeeping missions”. In this period 156 Peacekeepers, including 24 officers and a female Peacekeeper, have paid the ultimate price by sacrificing their life, she said.
“Like others who lost their lives in this cause, they will forever be remembered,” the Pakistani envoy said.
Ambassador Lodhi also highlighted the role of female peacekeepers from Pakistan and said she was proud of their service to international peace. She said that women peacekeepers were serving alongside their male counterparts in many conflict zones with exemplary dedication and professionalism.
She also recalled that Shehzadi Gulfam from Pakistan was the first recipient of the International Female Police Peacekeeper award in 2011.
She concluded by saying that peacekeeping is a common endeavor where all must work together to create the necessary synergies. “Every stakeholder in peacekeeping has an important role to play”, she added.