KARACHI: The Pakistan Army has a long and distinguished history of serving peacekeeping operations under the banner of the United Nations in war-torn countries around the world.
The very roots of Pakistani peacemakers’ commitment with the UN for promoting international peace and security stem from the vision of the country’s founding father, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
This stipulates Pakistan’s resolves to make its utmost contribution for the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world in upholding the principles of the UN Charter.
The UN defines ‘peacekeeping’ as efforts made to help war-torn countries gain stability, and create conditions suitable for long-term sustainable peace.
Pakistani peacekeepers first joined the UN on September 30, 1947, but the first direct support for UN peacekeeping operations began in 1960 when Pakistan Army deployed its first-ever contingent in a United Nations operation in Congo.
Since 1960, more than 169,000 Pakistani soldiers have participated in 43 UN missions spread across 23 countries.
The Pakistan Army’s assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing, electoral support, strengthening the rule-of-law, and socioeconomic development.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani peacekeepers travel thousands of kilometres away from their homeland, leaving behind their loved ones, to keep innocent people safe in distant lands. Over 150 of them have been martyred in the service of humanity, including 23 officers.
Still, Pakistan remains one of the largest contributors to UN’s peacekeeping missions.
Pak army contingents deployed abroad have played a significant role in normalising war-torn conditions, maintaining law and order and ensuring the successful transition of political processes through supervision of elections.
Their efforts have also won praise from world leaders and the UN leadership.
“Pakistan plays an important role at the UN,” said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while speaking at an event organised to mark Pakistan Day earlier this year.
“I am familiar with Pakistan’s history, having read some books about the country,” Guterres remarked when he saw portraits of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.
Currently, Pakistani personnel are deployed in Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur, Liberia, Haiti, Somalia and Western Sahara.
Their perpetual participation in diverse peacekeeping missions and in UN review processes is an affirmation of Pakistan’s commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Pakistan also supports recent UN initiatives such as the Strategic Review of Peacekeeping, force generation through Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System, and the new zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.