UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has called for expanding the United Nations Military Observer Mission in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, to enable the mission deal with the rising tensions in the disputed region.

"This (UNMOGIP) needs to be expanded to respond to existing threats and realities," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations on Monday. 

UNMOGIP, she emphasised, was a "critical factor for stability: in the region.

The special committee brings together all stakeholders of peacekeeping -- the UN's flagship activity -- troop and police contributors, financial contributors, Security Council members and the UN Secretariat. 

As the Committee opened its 2018 substantive session, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that Security Council mandates based on political expediency complicated the situation on the ground vis-a-vis the security of United Nations peacekeepers.

Peacekeeping fundamentals must be preserved even when adapting to changing realities, she said, adding, that blurring the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement would impact on the impartiality of the Blue Helmets.  

While underscoring the need for political solutions, the Ambassador said that there could be no lasting peace without addressing the root causes of conflict. 

"Peacekeeping needs to be strengthened through support for political solutions and mediation processes," she said. "The goal of protection of civilians is best served by preventing the outbreak of armed conflicts in the first place, addressing the root causes of conflicts, and finding inclusive political solutions to disputes."

The lack of adequate resources inevitably led to non-implementation of mandates, the Pakistani envoy said.

“We should be talking about enhancing capabilities, not across-the-board cuts in the peacekeeping budget,” she said, adding, that it was time to take stock of troop and equipment pledges in the light of remaining capability gaps.

Maleeha Lodhi also called for addressing the growing threat to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers that are increasingly being deployed in complex and perilous operating environments.

Citing that the recent death of a Pakistani peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she said this does not weaken the troop contributors resolve to serve the cause of international peace and security, but "we do want to take whatever steps we can take to ensure their safety."

The Pakistani envoy referred to the recently released report on “Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers” that provides an insight into the challenges ahead and also the course that could be followed.

The report was prepared for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres by Lt. Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, a retired Brazilian military officer.

In this regard, she said that useful discussion took place with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean Pierre Le Croix on the report in the Pakistan/Morocco-led Group of Troop and Police Contributing Countries, and hoped for further deliberations on the matter.

In his remarks, UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak, underscoring the need for a stronger focus on conflict prevention in peace operations, declared: “The United Nations was created to save people from the horrors of war, not to react once those horrors are in motion.”

He appealed for a more inclusive approach to peacekeeping in general, including by bolstering the use of gender advisers and the deployment of women.

Despite recent strides in that regard, “when it comes to gender, peacekeeping is in a bad state,” he stated.