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To mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, a commemorative event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A minute of silence was observed in honour of the peacekeepers who had sacrificed their lives while implementing their mandates and to pay tribute to those who had served and continued to serve in peacekeeping operations. A message from the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highlighting the importance of the day and paying tribute to Pakistan’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping was read out on the occasion.

In his inaugural remarks, Foreign Secretary Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, recalled meritorious services rendered by international peacekeepers to promote the cause of international peace and security. He particularly mentioned the contribution of Pakistani peacekeepers who had always acquitted themselves with professionalism, dedication and distinction, serving under the UN flag. He expressed hope that the UN Secretary General’s Strategic Review of the UN Peacekeeping Operations will take into account the perspective of all stakeholders and help retain the political consensus on this vital tool for international peace and security.

Ambassador (Rtd) Masood Khan, Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad highlighted Pakistan’s role in the UN peacekeeping policy formulation. Prominent Pakistani peacekeepers including Major General (Rtd) Niaz Muhammad Khattak, Ms. Shahzadi Gulfam and Lieutenant General (Rtd) Sikandar Afzal also shared their perspectives and experiences from the field and highlighted Pakistan’s contributions for various peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates of the UN Missions.

In his keynote address, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz emphasized the need for upholding the accepted principles of UN peacekeeping and ensuring a greater role of the troops and police contributing countries in the mandate formulation as well as in decisions related to transition and draw-down of the UN peacekeeping missions. He added that the United Nations should invest more political capital and resources in preventive diplomacy and reconciliation processes to stem eruption of conflicts in the first place.

The Adviser recalled that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with the leaders of the United States, Bangladesh, Japan and Rwanda as well as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon co-hosted a landmark peacekeeping Summit in September last year in New York that discussed ways to prepare the UN to respond more effectively to new and emerging challenges in the realm of peacekeeping. He reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to remain engaged with the operational as well as policy realms of the UN peacekeeping in future as well.

Concluding the event, Mr. Junaid Zaidi, Rector COMSATS Institute for Technology, thanked Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for co-organizing the event and participants for their deep interest in the subject.

29 May 2015

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