Pakistani peacekeepers recognized for their contributions. PHOTO: AFP
Thursday, June 13, 2013
NEW YORK: Top UN officials on Tuesday paid high tributes to Pakistani peacekeepers for their service under the UN flag-in hot spots around the world, saying they had made valuable contribution in maintaining peace as also helping families and communities suffering from war.
Harve Ladsous, Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping, and Ameerah Haq, Undersecretary General for Field Support, also honoured the sacrifices of those Pakistani peacekeepers, who paid the ultimate price over the years in serving the cause of peace over the years. They were speaking at a largely-attended function held at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations to commemorate Pakistan Peacekeepers Day. The day marks the June 5, 1993 incident in Somalia when 24 Pakistani peacekeepers laid down their lives while rescuing allied forces in Mogadishu.
On that day, 19 US troops also lost their lives. In his brief remarks, Ladsous said he had personally met brave Pakistani men and women who serve in some of the UN’s toughest missions. With over 8,000 personnel, Pakistanis among the highest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. He said United Nations and Pakistan a “great partnership” in the field of peacekeeping. Earlier, Pakistan UN Ambassador Masood Khan, who hosted the event, said, “The heroes who fell on June 5 speak for the United Nations and UN peacekeeping. They speak for us all. They speak for our commitment to global peace and security, over and above everything.”
The Pakistani envoy said, “Those fallen heroes must be happy up in the heavens, or wherever, to know that Somalia has bounced back to statehood and stability. Those heroes, whom we remember today, personify and represent the spirit of Pakistan. We send peacekeepers to difficult missions because we believe in the core function of the United Nations: the maintenance of peace and security in the world.”
“Our peacekeepers, as part of the UN family, bring peace, keep peace, build peace. They prevent drift to conflict. They heal wounds and help communities stand back on their feet. They do so out of conviction to serve humanity beyond the call of duty. To commemorate this day, we have all of you.”
The function was attended by heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the United Nations, senior UN officials and journalists.