ISLAMABAD - The UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Pakistan amidst the major upheavals faced by Islamabad that involve the country’s two immediate neighbours, is marked by an upside as well as a downside.

The two-day visit of the World’s First Diplomat here has produced statements which, Pakistan’s leading diplomats believe, will bolster Pakistan’s international standing on key diplomatic issues especially on the highly controversial use of armed drones.

During his keynote address at the National University of Science and Technology, Ban said: “I have expressed concern on many occasions about the loss of life caused by the armed UAVs.”

The UN SG said: “I have often and consistently said the use of armed drones like any other weapon should be subject to long standing international law, including international humanitarian law.” This is a position often taken by Pakistan with the United States, the country that attacks Pakistan’s territory and people, in violation of international law.

Nevertheless the UN Secretary-General whose visit was finalised one month ago, by mutual consent, is making an important trip just weeks before the UNGA’s September session.

His discussions here took place on issues of special significance for Pakistan and those that greatly influence Pakistan’s internal security and foreign relations. Notably, most issues involving Pakistan are also of great international significance. These issues include Afghanistan, Pakistan-India relations and terrorism.

Ban Ki Moon will be meeting Pakistan’s power trio.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Zardari and the COAS General Kayani. In his initial meetings the UN SG appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for peace and security in Afghanistan. While emphasising Afghanistan’s internal security, social development and peace, he acknowledged Pakistan’s importance to Afghan peace and security. He appreciated the role played by Pakistan in this context.

In his meetings with Pakistani officials here, while the UN SG expressed concerns about the rising tensions along the LoC as he offered to play a role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue only if both sides felt comfortable. This fact nullifies the possibility of UN playing any role since India has not been willing to involve the UN in any settlement of Kashmir. Infact India’s refusal to cooperate with the UN on Kashmir issue has also made the working of UN Military Observers Group(UNGOMIP) near impossible.

The UN SG Ban Ki Moon flagged the issue of terrorism as a serious one, with global fallout and expressed his sympathy with Pakistan’s growing and deadly problem of terrorism. He categorically stated that this global problem required global cooperation and Pakistan alone could not tackle the problem.

For Pakistanis the Secretary General’s statement that Saudi Arabia had contributed 100 million dollars to the UN counter-terrorism centres was rather intriguing. Here the strategic community often raises questions about Saudi Arabia contributions to militant groups engaged in terrorism.

Perhaps if there is a downside to the UN Secretary General’s visit, it relates to the repatriation of near 2.5 million Afghan refugees still burdening Pakistan’s socio-economic and security fabric. The UN SG has again managed to convince Pakistan, and obviously to Pakistan’s own detriment, that the deadline for the repatriation be extended to Dec 2015. According to officials privy to this decision, “the UNHCR’s assurance that it will try and and generate 650 million dollars for the refugees, swayed Pakistan into taking this decision.” Officials see this UNHCR promise as more of a “trap” to entice Pakistan to extend the deadline.