UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has defended its proposal for longer-term seats in the UN Security Council or the possibility of re-election immediately after expiry of the term as a way to break the deadlock resulting from lack of agreement between supporters and opponents of creating additional permanent members on the 15-member body. 

"We firmly believe that such a solution provides a middle ground to overcome the current impasse,"Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in the course of the long-running Intergovernmental Negotiations aimed at making the Security council more representative and democratic.

Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as India, Brazil, Germany and Japan -- known as the Group of Four - push for permanent seats while Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly oppose any additional permanent members.

As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members - not permanent members - with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once.

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.

The Pakistani envoy, who was responding to a delegate claiming that the longer-term seats proposal had been discussed and discarded in the 1940s, said that there was no reason to believe that an idea once not accepted had become invalid. "The demand later for one man, one vote by the Chartist movement in UK, not accepted in the 1830s, was agreed to almost 40 years later in the reform Act of 1874," she said while citing some relevant examples.

Also recalled was the demand for voting rights for women, which remained unacceptable for centuries, but finally found universal acceptance in the early 20th century, she added.

Challenging authoritarian rule, ruled out for centuries in the past, is today enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the context of the freedom of expression, Maleeha Lodhi said.

The Pakistani envoy also referred to the creation in recent years of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council – a 47-member body, whose members serve for two years with the possibility of one re-election

 "Do these terms ring any bell? Do they not sound very similar to what the UfC is proposing?"

The world has evolved since 1945 when the United Nations was created, she said. "Today, the principles of democracy, representation, accountability and sovereign equality of States are firmly embedded in our political culture and normative framework and are not to be sacrificed at the altar of grandiose ambitions," she said, adding that the extenuating circumstances that existed in 1945, do not prevail anymore.

As to an assertion that only new permanent members could take on the existing permanent members, Maleeha Lodhi said that the question was on whose behalf they will take them on except their national interest.