UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan failed Wednesday in its bid for re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in a rare defeat for the country which has all along played an active at the UN. The General Assembly elected 18 countries to serve on the 47-member body for a period of three years beginning on January 1, 2016. There were seven candidates contesting for five Asia-Pacific seats on the Council, with minimum 97 votes required for election in the 193-member Assembly.

Mongolia polled highest 172 votes as it was backed by Western states due to its transitions to democracy. UAE secured 159 votes, Kyrgyzstan 147, South Korea 136, and the Philippines 113. Pakistan and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with 105 votes each, could not get elected. The loss came as a huge shock to the Pakistani delegation that had appeared confident of winning the seat as the country has served three terms on the Council.

Some Arab states of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) didn’t vote for Pakistan in an apparent punishment to Islamabad for refusal to join the military coalition against Yemen. In addition, the Indians actively lobbied to keep Pakistan out of the Council, which is based in Geneva. India is leaving the council on completion of its term.

Other members elected were: (African States): Togo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coat, Kenya and Burund; (Latin America/Caribbean States): Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela; (Western European States): Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, and (Eastern European States): Slovenia and Georgia.