He was addressing a large gathering of diplomats, military attaches, senior UN officials and members of the Pakistani community at a reception hosted by Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi on Wednesday, commemorating Pakistani Peacekeepers Day.
The day marks the June 5, 1993, incident in Somalia when 24 Pakistani peacekeepers laid down their lives while rescuing allied forces in Mogadishu. On that day, 19 US troops also lost their lives.
Maleeha Lodhi in her welcome address said Pakistan was proud to be associated with the UN peacekeeping, the world body’s flagship activity, saying, ”Our continued commitment to UN peacekeeping was a fundamental part of our policy and a manifestation of our contribution to this vital goal.”
“You should be very proud just as we are deeply grateful to Pakistan,” the secretary general said, noting that through decades, Pakistan has deployed over 150,000 personnel to 41 peacekeeping missions in 23 countries.
“Today, more than 7,000 uniformed personnel from Pakistan are serving in seven peacekeeping missions, making it our third largest troop- and police-contributor,” he added.
Lodhi called for a collective response to the challenges modern peacekeeping faces today. ‘Our goal is common’ to ensure that in the current context, the UN’s peacekeeping missions can effectively fulfil their mandates”, she said.
Shahzadi Gulfam, the first award-winning Pakistani peacekeeper was also present in the event.
The Pakistani envoy 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.”