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Posted on: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

COMSATS and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Commemorated International Day of UN peacekeepers on 29 May

COMSATS in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MO Directorate organized a special event on the occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on 29 May. The title of the event was Pakistan Blue Helmets-In Service of World Peace. This year’s event had special significance as it coincided with the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The event was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corp representatives from different organizations and personnel of the Foreign Office and COMSATS. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. The Advisor highlighted the challenges faced by the speakers and made observations on the evolving thinking within the UN system on peacekeeping. Foreign Secretary Mr. Aizaz Chaodhry also dwelt on Pakistan’s perspective and commitment to promoting peace and paid tribute to the Pakistani peacekeepers. Former peacekeepers from the military, Maj. Gen. ® Niaz Khattak, Lt. Gen ® Sikander Afzal, from police DSP Shahzadi Gulfam and Ambassador Masood Khan shared their experiences and perspectives.

The highlight of the event was the message of the UN Secretary General in which he commended Pakistan for its contribution to peacekeeping missions. He paid tribute to the Pakistani troops for sacrificing their lives in the noble cause of peace. In his concluding remarks Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, Rector of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology underlined the importance attached by Pakistan to the high endeavours towards peace and security and thanked the leadership of the Foreign Office for partnering with COMSATS in commemorating the Day. (Texts attached).

                                                                 U N I T E D N A T I O N S

                                                             THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


It is a great pleasure to convey greetings and best wishes to the Government and people of Pakistan as they mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Pakistan is one of the world’s leading and most stalwart providers of troops, police and military experts. More than 8,000 of Pakistan’s finest soldiers, men and women, serve in our complex and challenging missions — from Darfur to Haiti to Liberia, from Western Sahara to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pakistan’s distinguished Lieutenant General Maqsood Ahmed currently serves as the United Nations Military Adviser. I thank Pakistan for these vital contributions.

This year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers falls during the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, offering a chance to honour the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets to the proud history of the Organization. United Nations peacekeeping has given life to the aim of the United Nations Charter “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security”. Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.

United Nations peacekeeping fosters burden sharing that spreads risks and opportunities across countries large and small, and from both the developed and developing worlds. I applaud the more than 107,000 uniformed peacekeepers from 122 troop and police- contributing countries now serving in 16 missions.

In its 70 years, the United Nations has established 71 peacekeeping operations. More than one million people have served as peacekeepers, helping countries gain independence, supporting historic elections, protecting civilians, disarming hundreds of thousands of ex-combatants, establishing the rule of law, promoting human rights and creating the conditions for refugees and displaced persons to return home. We should all be proud of these accomplishments.

Today, United Nations peacekeeping is adapting to new global realities, including asymmetric threats in some of the world’s most challenging environments. We have modernized our operations, introduced new technologies, broadened our base of contributors and strengthened our partnerships with regional organizations. At the same time, demands far outpace resources. We need better funding, training and equipment. Our troops and police must carry out ever more complex mandates while being held to the highest standards of conduct. We need developed countries to resume their historically influential role as contributors of troops. And we need stronger political support from the Member States that are responsible for authorizing, financing and contributing troops and police to the missions.

To explore how best to meet these challenges, I appointed a High-Level Independent Panel to assess the state of United Nations peace operations today – both peacekeeping and special political missions – and the emerging needs of the future. This will be the first major review since 2000, and I look forward to a bold and comprehensive set of recommendations.

Today, we honour the memory of those who gave their lives to the cause of peace, and pay tribute to all men and women who carry on their legacy by serving in the field. More than 3,300 peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving under the United Nations flag, including 126 last year. The risks continue to grow as peacekeepers are targeted by improvised explosive devices or complex terrorist attacks.

As we commemorate seven decades of the United Nations, let us all do our part to ensure the effectiveness of this flagship enterprise.

Concluding Remarks of the Rector

The Special Event organized to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers is a tribute to all those peacekeepers who have served the cause of peace and of protecting populations caught in conflict and strife. This year’s 29 May commemoration has added significance as it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The lives laid down by the peacekeepers and the arduous work done by those involved in various operations illustrates the grave nature of the tasks assigned to them. It reminds us of the challenges of peace and security confronted by the world today.

COMSATS Institute of Information Technology is privileged to be part of the event “Pakistani Blue Helmets – In Service of World Peace”. We remember Pakistani peace-keepers who have lost their lives during various Peace-keeping missions with utmost respect and reverence. The contributions made by all the UN peacekeepers, including our own enjoy world-wide recognition and appreciation. The UN Secretary General’s message on this special occasion also highlights the significance of the Day. The remarks made by the Adviser, SAPM and Foreign Secretary, reflect the high value attached by Pakistan to peacekeeping missions.

The challenges faced by the peacekeepers today are far grave than ever before. Placed in the middle of the divided societies, working with communities destroyed by conflict amidst armed irregular militias, the task of the peacekeepers is not only perilous it requires skills of a different kind. The image of the UN is enhanced by their success in transforming societies and the meaningful change they foster in the affected communities. Today’s event is also aimed at bringing to spotlight the stories of the peacekeepers. Experiences shared by the panelists this afternoon is of immense value in understanding an important dimension of peacekeeping. The role of Pakistan in UN peacekeeping policy making further underscores the continued commitment of Pakistan to global peace and security.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for making today’s event possible. The patronage provided by the Adviser, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and the work done by the UN Division and Policy Planning Division of the Ministry is indeed praiseworthy. The cooperation extended by the MO Directorate is commendable. It is indeed a privilege for me to thank the speakers and all those who have contributed towards making today’s event successful.


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