UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan - along with China, Russia and Azerbaijan - abstained from a UN Security Council vote on children and armed conflict Wednesday, saying that the UN envoy on the issue is not sticking to conflicts that the 15-member body is dealing with, which is its mandate.The resolution, which laid out the mandate for Leila Zerrougui, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for children and armed conflict, received 11 votes in favour.Zerrougui, an Algerian who recently replaced Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka, is entrusted to promote and protect children’s rights during armed conflicts and identifies countries and groups that kill, maim or rape children in conflicts, or recruit and use children as soldiers.The resolution grew out of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report on Children that contained some “unwarranted” references to the situation in Pakistan. The abstaining states in the Council’s vote were of the opinion that the report had exceeded the mandate which was limited to covering the plight of children in armed conflicts.“The issue of full observance of working strictly within the mandate is at the heart of the problem,” Pakistan’s acting Ambassador to the United Nations Raza Bashir Tarar said in explanation of his vote.He said the resolution failed to accommodate the reasonable concerns of the Council members, and at the same time, it was hastily pushed to vote without adequate consultations.“Most regrettably, the latest report once again contains references to non-mandated situations in particular an unwarranted and completely misleading section on Pakistan,” the Pakistani envoy said.“This does not only misrepresent Pakistan’s law enforcement and counter-terrorism measures, but also serves to accord undeserved respectability to terrorists and criminals. This disturbing trend is bringing into disrepute both the intergovernmental body that created the mandate i.e. the Security Council, as well as the esteemed Secretary-General.The love of children transcended political matters and the United Nations Charter aimed to ensure due protection of children, Ambassador Tarar said. The rights of children needed to be protected in all circumstances. However, recent reports of the Secretary-General had ventured outside the current mandate, he said, adding such situations presented challenges for the United Nations system as a whole. The misleading section on Pakistan was a case in point, he said. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict’s practice of condemning acts of violations on child rights was selective, the Pakistani envoy said. Pakistan wanted to strengthen the position around the Council’s mandate. Listing and delisting criteria should be objective and balanced, he said. Perpetrators should be brought to justice in national and international arenas. Pakistan, Tarar said, strongly condemned any use of children by extremists or other groups to promote their nihilistic objectives. He hoped future Secretary-General reports would be objective in that respect.The resolution laid out the mandate for Leila Zerrougui, UN Secretary-special representative for children and armed conflict. Zerrougui, an Algerian who recently replaced Radhika Coomaraswamy, works to promote and protect children’s rights during armed conflicts and identifies countries and groups that kill, maim or rape children in conflicts, or recruit and use children as soldiers.“The sphere of activities of (the special envoy) does not cover all issues of protecting children in armed conflict, but only those situations that are on UN Security Council’s agenda,” said Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Sergey Karev.“The mandate of the Security Council resolution cannot be wilfully interpreted to equalize the incidents of terrorist attacks in Pakistan to armed conflict,” China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong told the council.“The international community should provide more support and help to Pakistan’s effort to counter terrorism rather than creating difficulties and obstacles,” he said.The report said that children in Pakistan were being used by armed groups allied to Islamist extremists to carry out in suicide attacks and were victims of indiscriminate attacks. It also said armed groups continued to target schools in bomb attacks.While criticizing the report, Ambassador Tarar said Pakistan would have voted against the resolution, but instead abstained to show a willingness to work with Zerrougui and a commitment to the issue.