–UN chief says Pakistan’s journey from terrorism to tourism is remarkable
ISLAMABAD: United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday lauded Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism and said that it was remarkable that Pakistan had now turned into a tourist destination.
While responding to a question regarding “Pakistan’s journey from terrorism to tourism” after a seminar at Islamabad’s National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), the UN chief said that Islamabad, which looked like a “fortress” a few years back had now become a family station for the world body’s staff.
“We are witnessing the state becoming present, both from the point of view of security [… and] basic service, development in an absolutely remarkable transformation,” he said.
“I can see how Pakistan not only opened its borders, in a world where so many borders are closed, but Pakistani people open their houses and their hearts in [an] enormous demonstration of generosity,” he said while referring to the influx of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
“At the same time, I have seen the commitment of Pakistan to peace, namely to support peace in Afghanistan,” he added.
The UN chief also appreciated the contributions of Pakistani troops to UN peacekeeping missions. “Pakistan has been lever in making peacekeeping more effective, more accountable and with a stronger capacity to protect civilians and to make the blue helmets an essential force for peace,” he said.
“I want to pay tribute to the very strong commitment of Pakistan to multilateralism and to United Nations,” he added.
Earlier, while addressing the seminar, he paid tribute to Pakistani peacekeeping troops and hailed their “professionalism [and] commitment”. He commended the peacekeeping troops for their efforts to bring peace in countries struck by war and violence.
Guterres also urged the international community to come forward and recognise Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability.
In his address, Military Operations Director General Major General Nauman Zakaria said that Pakistan has sent over 200,000 troops for 46 missions in 28 different countries during the last 60 years.
He said that UN peacekeeping missions have added value to Pakistani troops and built their strong image abroad.
The DG said that Pakistani soldiers are the most battle-hardened army in the world and it is due to the highest standard of physical fitness, professionalism and motivation of Pakistan Army troops.
He said over that 400 Pakistani women are playing their role in global peacekeeping missions in the world.
Later on, the UN secretary general also inaugurated a photo exhibition at the Center for International Peace and Stability in NUST.
The UN chief is on a four-day visit to Pakistan to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees. Ahead of his arrival, Guterres had said he would express gratitude for those serving as peacekeepers. Taking to Twitter, he said, “Pakistan is one of the most consistent and reliable contributors to UN peacekeeping efforts around the world. “I am travelling to Pakistan, where I plan to express my gratitude to the people #ServingForPeace,” he added.