UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s longstanding contribution to UN peacekeeping, the world body’s flagship activity, is not only emblematic of the country’s commitment to maintaining international peace and security but has also earned it “respect and influence” in the world body, a top Pakistani diplomat has said.
Speaking to two groups of Pakistani students who visited the Pakistan Mission to the UN on Friday, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Pakistan takes pride in its contribution to UN peacekeeping operations in hotspots around the world.
Students from the Army Public School Peshawar are visiting the U.S on an exchange programme while students from Froebel’s International School are in New York to participate in the UN’s Annual Youth Assembly.
Ambassador Lodhi told them that Pakistan has always been among the world’s leading troop contributing countries and at present ranks number two in the number of troops deployed in different missions, mostly in Africa.
Briefing the young Pakistani citizens about the country’s role has played at the UN, she explained that it had historically engaged actively on a wide range of issues, and currently has played a helpful role in negotiations in the evolution of the post-2015 global development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, which will usher in a new global paradigm for the next fifteen years.
“Our primary objective at the UN is to protect and promote Pakistan’s interests across a range of issues”, Ambassador Lodhi said, added that issues like Jammu & Kashmir, counter-terrorism, international peace and security, Security Council reform and Afghanistan were among its priorities at the UN and the Mission remain engaged in these issues as a major voice at the UN.
Ambassador Lodhi said that while she was Pakistan’s first female ambassador to the UN, Pakistan had appointed some of its most distinguished diplomats to serve as permanent representatives to the UN; including personalities like Pitras Bokhari, Syed Amjad Ali, Agha Shahi, Jamshed Marker and Munir Akram. “Pakistan has therefore, over the years, set a tradition of active and skilful diplomacy at the UN and enjoys excellent reputation here”, she added.
Talking about the up coming General Assembly Session, she said that UN would be celebrating its 70th anniversary this year with several high-level meetings taking place in September in which Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would participate.
Ambassador Lodhi explained to students the role played by various UN agencies in providing humanitarian assistance, promoting development and alleviating the suffering of people in disaster and conflict stricken regions around the world. She said that as the current President of the UNICEF Executive Board, she has noted how the organization was purposefully promoting the welfare of children through various projects in many countries including Pakistan.
Ambassador Lodhi later responded to questions from students who were keen to know more about Pakistan’s goals at the UN.
Associated Press of Pakistan