UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations will honour the sacrifices of five Pakistani soldiers, among over 100 peacekeepers who laid down their lives while serving the cause of peace around the world in 2014 at a ceremony scheduled to be held in late May.
The ceremony, which will take place on May 29, marks the annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Commemorative activities will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and at peacekeeping operations and offices around the world.
Currently, 125,000 UN peacekeepers, including 91,000 military personnel, 13,000 police officers as well as 17,000 international civilian and national staff are serving in 16 operations on four continents.
Pakistan is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping mission with 8,163 personnel including 7,581 troops, 487 police officials and 95 military experts serving in the UN operations in the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan and Western Sahara
The fallen Pakistani soldiers include Naib Subedar Saleem, Akhter and Lance Naik Ibrar Mehmood, who served with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Sepoy Nazar Abbas and Lance Havildar Ghulam Nabi, who served with the United Nations Misson in Liberia (UNMIL) and Sepoy Fahad Iftikhar, who was deployed with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, in tribute to men and women serving in peacekeeping operations for their professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
The UN General Assembly then dedicated May 29 to peacekeepers because it was the date in 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), the world body’s first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.
This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers falls during the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, offering a chance to honour the Blue Helmets invaluable contribution to the Organisation. The theme for the day this year is “UN at 70: Peacekeeping: Past, Present, and Future.”