Two-day visit: United Nations chief to land in Pakistan after Eid

Ban Ki-moon will call on the PM and president, meet families of slain polio workers.

Sumera Khan August 05, 2013
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. PHOTO: FILE


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Pakistan on August 13, the Foreign Office confirmed on Sunday.

Upon arrival, the UN chief will call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari, FO officials said.

“The UN secretary general and his wife, who will accompany him on his two-day trip, will also meet the families of the polio workers slain in attacks,” an official told The Express Tribune. Sources in the foreign ministry said Ban will also inaugurate the Peace Restoration Centre and deliver a lecture about the project at the National Defence University during his trip.

Initially, FO officials said that the UN secretary general was scheduled to arrive on August 14. Later, however, they maintained Ban Ki-moon’s schedule had been revised and he was likely to arrive earlier, either on August 12 or 13.

However, the official spokesperson for the entire UN mission in Pakistan, Ishrat Rizvi, said that she is not in a position to confirm the dates of secretary general’s arrival in Pakistan. She added that due to classified reasons, a final advisory for the media would be issued on August 12 “when everything will be in a final shape.”

According to Rizvi, Ban will be accompanied by a 21-member delegation, apart from his wife.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a Unicef official said the extensive damage wrought across the country by monsoons this time around prompted a revision in Ban’s scheduled meetings and engagements.

“The secretary general is expected to hold a brief interaction with the media on his arrival, saying he is coming to accentuate the cohesion of the UN and the international community with the people of Pakistan, who are enduring a tough era due to the disastrous and unprecedented floods and worsening security state in the country,” the official said.

UN officials in Islamabad coordinating the UN chief’s visit confirmed that his discussions with Prime Minister Nawaz will include the recent floods and the coordinated response to the disaster.

This will be Ban’s second trip to the country. He earlier visited Pakistan during the 2010 floods. During the visit the UN secretary general announced an additional $10 million in aid for flood relief efforts apart from the $17 million he had pledged earlier.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.