ISLAMABAD - Pakistani peacekeepers, especially females, have been contributing to the United Nations’ efforts in promotion and maintenance of International peace and security since 1960, a service also acknowledged by the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells. In a tweet shared on Wells’ behalf by the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs just days before the visit of United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres to Pakistan, Wells said she was inspired by the award-winning Pakistani female peacekeepers serving in war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Inspired by Pakistani women serving with distinction in the @UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC. The first Pakistani all-female group of 15 peacekeepers received medals last week for their work performing a range of services to the conflict-affected eastern DRC”, said the tweet. Blue helmets from Pakistan have a long and storied history with United Nations peacekeeping missions and the country is the third-largest contributor of personnel since participation began in 1960. The United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres will be visiting Pakistan from 16-19 February 2020 and it will be a good opportunity to acknowledge Pakistan’s contribution to United Nations’ efforts in promotion and maintenance of International peace and security, especially through Pakistan’s valiant soldiers serving as the UN peacekeepers.

 At present 78 Pakistan Army female peacekeepers are serving the noble cause of peacekeeping under the umbrella of UN as part of female engagement teams and staff officers at various HQs. Pakistan is an ardent supporter of the United Nations and has contributed significantly to the realization of United Nations’ objectives of peace and security and sustainable development in the world.

Pakistan was the first country to deploy female engagement team in Congo on 19 June 2019. There are two female engagement teams in Congo and third one is going to be operative in the Central African Republic in March 2020. So far, 450 Pakistani female peacekeepers have participated in various missions across the World.

Maj Samia Rehman had received Certificate of Appreciation by special representative of Secretary General for her excellent performance in UN Mission Congo in 2019. Similarly, Maj Arooj Arif received appreciation for being only female officer who qualified Dancon march (25 Kms in 5 hrs). Maj Sadia remained proud member of the UN Integrated Training Team for 2 years. The female peacekeepers also imparted training in Centre for International Peace & Stability and other International institutions.

The United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG), Antonio Guterres will be visiting Pakistan from 16-19 February 2020. The Secretary-General will participate in the “International Conference on 40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity” and will deliver a keynote address. The Secretary-General’s other engagements include delivering special talks on themes of sustainable development, climate change and peacekeeping.

The visit will be an opportunity to acknowledge Pakistan’s contribution to United Nations’ efforts in promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. The UN Secretary-General’s participation in the International Conference is a recognition of Pakistan’s exemplary compassion, generosity and resolve in hosting Afghan refugees for the past four decades and Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s female peacekeepers, deployed with the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), were awarded a UN medal at a ceremony in Adikivu in South Kivu, one of the provinces of the central African country. The team of 15 female officers, who serve at the ranks of major and captain, have been staying in the war-torn country since June last year. The officers are psychologists, stress counsellors, vocational training officers, gender advisors, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers and logistics officers.

Pakistan has a long history of sending its troops to various UN peacekeeping missions and has also been recognised as one of the largest contributors of troops and police for decades. According to the UN, Pakistani troops are currently serving in seven UN operations, with the vast majority of them deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Central African Republic.

So far, around 450 women peacekeepers from Pakistan have served in UN missions. The women peacekeepers from Pakistan have won numerous accolades, including tributes at the UN and medals for exceptional performances and services rendered.

So far, 156 Pakistani blue helmets have embraced martyrdom while serving under the UN umbrella. Seven Pakistani peacekeepers who laid down their lives for global peace and security were honoured with a medal at the annual memorial ceremony held at United Nations headquarters in New York in April 2018. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had attended the programme as the chief guest and paid homage to the peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

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