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Pakistan Press (29 May 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Being Mad About Peace By Jawed Naqvi: New Age Islam's Selection, 29 May 2018





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

29 May 2018

Being Mad About Peace

By Jawed Naqvi

Need For New Thinking In Indo-Pak Ties

By Shahid M Amin

International Day Of UN Peacekeepers

By Mohammad Jamil

A Little Less Ambition, Please

By Arifa Noor

Messiah Complex

By Zarrar Khuhro

Watching America From Within

By Shahid Javed Burki

International Day Of UN Peacekeepers

By Mohammad Jamil

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Being Mad About Peace

By Jawed Naqvi

May 29, 2018

“YE deewangi kab khatam hogi?” When will this madness end? The disarming question from former Indian vice president Hamid Ansari prompted Pakistan’s ex-spy chief retired Lt-Gen Asad Durrani to agree to do a book with his friend, the former RAW chief, Amarjit Singh Dulat.

The Dulat-Durrani book explores Ansari’s poser from different angles. Luckily, it has found a clear constituency in India, whereas in Pakistan it has incurred censure, mostly. The duo slams right-wing hawks on both sides, usually their own. Others could find in the book a useful compendium of views and facts that are mostly known but rarely acknowledged officially. Above all, there is in it a much-needed self-criticism from both sides, without which their assessment of each other or of the Western hold on South Asia would perhaps not be nearly so credible.

For Indians, there was also an occult reason of interest. The book release last week coincided with the swearing in of a new coalition in Karnataka. Look at the dramatis personae in both places. They comprised opposition to the Modi government, virtually as a theme. The book is a discussion including agreements and differences larded with riveting banter between the former spy chiefs of India and Pakistan.

One can understand his colleagues being miffed with something Gen Durrani said, but why are the politicians so worked up?

Moderated by an Indian journalist, its release attracted the presence of Dr Manmohan Singh, former BJP foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and Kashmiri factotum Farooq Abdullah among other critics of the Modi establishment. The Karnataka jamboree comprised one of the largest gatherings of opposition satraps in recent memory and it came about after foiling Modi’s chances of cobbling his own coalition there.

It is all too well known that the book contains criticism of Prime Minister Modi’s policy on Kashmir and Pakistan. Which is more or less what the entire Indian opposition has been saying albeit in different decibels.

In Pakistan, where the book has not been released and I’m not sure why that is so, there has been mostly criticism of Durrani. He has been ordered to explain his conduct, according to reports, to the army headquarters for joining hands with Dulat, a rare spy who has headed the Intelligence Bureau and RAW at different times. It would have been far more rewarding for Pakistani politicians and other troubled souls to read the book before taking a view one way or another.

Consider, for example, Gen Durrani’s straightforward confession, which could have irked his former colleagues. “The establishments in the US, Pakistan and India are usually working for their own good rather than for the good of their public.” Who could disagree with that open secret, and how often do we hear such views so candidly expressed by those who have sat in the cockpit?

One can understand his colleagues being miffed with something Gen Durrani said, but why are the politicians so worked up?

After the initial fuss, the Jadhav issue has gone quiet, says the mediator, Aditya Sinha.

Gen Durrani agrees. “I’m happy if nothing is happening, such shor-sharaba has no place. There’s a way to go about it. We should not have broached it with the poor Iranian president while he was an honoured guest. And it was embarrassing that the faux pas was committed by the army chief.”

Mr Dulat had correctly predicted President Trump’s victory, admits Durrani but claims to have backed the outcome regardless. “I give Mr Dulat credit that he said Trump is likely to win the election. I was wishy-washy about it though I wanted him to win because he was one of those that could shake up the establishment … Two, I considered Hillary Clinton a known disaster. Get rid of the known disaster and even if the other option was to be a bigger disaster. At least that’s not known yet. It soon became certain he would be a known and established disaster.”

The discussion about Trump’s Afghanistan policy is critical to the book, and both spooks seem wary of American involvement in the country. I think somewhere in the book or during the book release someone said that if you could solve Kashmir, Afghanistan would be a cakewalk. The discussion on Afghanistan gives the opposite impression — that if we can resolve Kabul we can untangle Srinagar in no time.

“We’re supposed to have a strategic relationship with the US,” says Dulat only to quickly question its feasibility. “Probably the Americans have in mind that India will provide a counterbalance to China. This is wishful thinking. Because (a) we are not in a position to do so, and (b) no government in Delhi would offend the Chinese beyond a point. They won’t play proxy for somebody else.” The truth of the assertion will be tested at the Shanghai group’s meeting in China next month.

The element of madness is not confined to India and Pakistan alone. As the book wonders, for example, what would be Trump’s reaction if there were a major terrorist strike in the US? Gen Durrani believes the response would be drastic if the origin was in Pakistan. However, an invasion or a spectacular attack was not likely as it is usually against a weak and indefensible country that can’t retaliate. “But what can Pakistan do? We need not talk about that. But seeing the power Pakistan has within the country and the region, I doubt an Afghan-type attack will take place. A few bombs here and there we’d expect.”

If hatred of each other, real or contrived, is an aspect of their madness how mad is the idea of their coalescing into a confederation? Find out the delightful truth about that dream too in the book.

Hamid Ansari deserves our gratitude for provoking this insanely candid discussion although it could have taken place less controversially had the deep state on both sides not put the Sharm el-Shaikh agreement in the thresher.

Source: dawn.com/news/1410708/being-mad-about-peace

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Need For New Thinking in Indo-Pak Ties

By Shahid M Amin

May 29, 2018

DIFFERENCE of opinion is natural in any democratic society. Indeed this is the sign of a free people who have the right to express their views on any issue under discussion. But this must not lead to acrimonious debate, bitter divisions, and a cacophony of opinion that give the impression of a divided nation. This is where at times we go wrong in Pakistan. In the heat of the argument, we can lose a sense of balance, and emotions often tend to override sensible opinion. We start questioning even the patriotism of our political opponents. In our chequered political history, there were times when Nawaz Sharif used to say that Benazir Bhutto was a security risk or that she and Pakistan could not go together. The wheel has now turned full circle and at present some political opponents are condemning Nawaz Sharif as a traitor and an Indian agent.

This is quite preposterous and unworthy of serious consideration. Similar accusations have been made against ex-President Pervez Musharraf and many others and should be eschewed. In fact, an objective analysis would show that most of our rulers had sought to act in the best interests of Pakistan. Their judgement might have been defective in some cases, and mistakes were made, but their patriotic intentions should not be doubted. The common tendency to denigrate former rulers and political opponents often leads to national demoralisation. Some of us never seem to find any good in our past rulers, reinforcing an impression that we have made a mess of our country. But the reality is that Pakistan has come a long way since its independence and is one of the most important countries in the world. We have often occupied central stage in world issues and our international importance has been recognised by friends and foes.

In any mature nation, there are some unwritten red lines. People may disagree with each other strongly, but must not give the impression of a divided nation or allow an opportunity to foreign enemies to fish in troubled waters. There is another red line viz. that we must close ranks when it comes to any matter of national interest. In other words, we may quarrel with ourselves internally but when it comes to foreign relations, particularly issues with unfriendly countries, we must speak with a common voice. Some people pretend that they do not know what constitutes national interests. These may be described as the vital interests of a state. The foremost national interest is survival of the state and its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. If the state itself is gone, no other national interest survives. Economic welfare i.e. trade, aid and investment are also important national interests. Protection/promotion of values constitute another national interest.

Clearly, the most important part of our foreign policy relates to relations with India. We would like to see a friendly, stable relationship with our largest neighbour. However, this is possible only if India also has a similar vision. But it is a fact that India has all along posed an existential threat to Pakistan. The Hindu majority had bitterly opposed the creation of Pakistan but finally accepted partition of the South Asian sub-continent as a short-time expedient in order to secure the end of British colonial rule. The Indian leadership was confident that Pakistan was an impractical idea and could not last and it did all in its power to expedite Pakistan’s collapse.

The fact that this did not happen is a lasting tribute to the patriotism of the Pakistani people. The Kashmir issue became the litmus test of the ideological divide: with India denying the validity of the two-nation theory that had led to the division of India. Seventy years have passed and India continues to use brute force to suppress the Kashmiris’ aspiration for self-determination. Peace in the sub-continent has become hostage of the Kashmir dispute. It is arguable; however, that Kashmir is perhaps a symptom of the deeper malaise viz. India’s continued unwillingness to accept the sovereign existence of Pakistan. On Pakistan’s part also, there has to be a recognition that the Kashmir dispute cannot be solved by military means or through the use of non-state actors. In fact, the latter’s activities play right into India’s hands by providing credibility to its allegations that there is cross-border terrorism or that Islamist terrorism is at play here, a charge that finds ready acceptance in the West. The best hope for solution of Kashmir issue lies in the unflinching freedom struggle being carried on by the Kashmiri people. It will sooner or later bring a change of thinking in India, as happened in the case of Algeria, Vietnam and South Africa.

Moreover, there are other pragmatic reasons why India and Pakistan will finally have to find a modus vivendi for peaceful coexistence. Both are nuclear powers with missile capability. War would destroy both of them and must, therefore, be ruled out as a viable option. Jingoists on both sides have to be overruled by sensible opinion. There is no doubt that peaceful coexistence between India and Pakistan would open the door to fruitful economic cooperation and allow both countries to concentrate on fighting the real enemy: poverty, disease and ignorance. The immense resources being spent wastefully by both countries on war preparations and military expenditure could be diverted to raise the standard of living. In fact, the millions of poor who constitute the majority in both countries have been the biggest losers due to their unending military confrontation.

Now that there are prospects of a peace breakthrough in Korea, where the north and south have been acting like mortal enemies since 1945, there should be incentive for a similar progress in South Asia. The two Koreas have followed opposite paths, both internally and externally. They fought a three-year war in 1950-53 and have had any number of military crises. If they can still find a peaceful solution to their problems, why can this not be done in the sub-continent? There are so many things that India and Pakistan have in common and peace would usher in exchange of cultural ties, no less than commercial interchanges.

Source: pakobserver.net/need-for-new-thinking-in-indo-pak-ties/

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A Little Less Ambition, Please

By Arifa Noor

May 29, 2018

THE PML-N is bent upon on keeping the entire country guessing. From Panama to the Qatari letter to the differences between the two brothers to its dollar policy and its election strategy, there is little the party is saying with one voice.

Hence, while Nawaz Sharif seemed to be sticking to his notion of a confrontation with the powers that be, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed his leader had been misquoted.

Then, Mian Sahib asked for a national commission to look into his Mumbai statement and to decide who is guilty of treason.

Inevitably, the hapless Abbasi was asked about his boss and predecessor’s demand and in his bid to do (yet again) some damage control, the prime minister provided a broader and more palatable agenda — to unveil hidden facts about all the events since 1947. A tall order indeed.

He asked for consensus among the parties after the election to form this truth and reconciliation commission, without explaining what hidden events he had in mind.

Truth be told, the interference in politics by non-civilians is, perhaps, our worst-kept secret. Didn’t Javed Hashmi know a coup would be carried out through the judiciary, years before it actually happened? And he made sure that all of us knew this.

And yet, there were few raised eyebrows; instead, there were a few voices of support for Abbasi sahib’s suggestion.

Perhaps this is because few want to question a call for a truth and reconciliation commission. While we still haven’t stopped sniggering at those who called themselves ‘Nelson Mandela’ after a few days of imprisonment, no sneers or scepticism confront the demand for a TRC.

The actual experience of a truth and reconciliation commission is far from perfect.

But it’s the wont of cynicism to dismiss all notions romantic and also unrealistic political dreams. So here comes a bucket full of cold water.

Born of the South African experience at the end of apartheid, the TRC was suggested as a form of restorative instead of retributive justice, which would help a country and society heal by coming to terms with its past. The aim was to hold public hearings where victims as well as oppressors could share their experiences.

But there were practical reasons for this form of justice. The TRC may have come at the end of apartheid but the end of the regime did not mean that those who perpetrated violence during it could now be identified and punished.

They were part of the system, present at many posts. Pursuing and prosecuting them could have led to chaos at a time when it was in everyone’s interest to smoothly move towards election. Hence those at the helm came up with a different idea of justice — where instead of retribution, the simple telling of truth would repair a fractured society.

So, our good-intentioned prime minister feels his quaid might get some closure if those who wronged him will stand up and confess to how and when various PML-N governments were destabilised or attempts made to do so; in other words, a TRC would mean that the Asghar Khan case would be left where it is without any retribution for those accepting or giving the money.

There is no doubt Mian Sahib would like a more retributive option — to try Gen Musharraf and perhaps even the intelligence chief who asked him to resign — but Abbasi knows that a truth and reconciliation commission may be a more ‘doable’ option. However, even in this case, the consensus he wants to forge cannot simply include the political parties but also the military.

But why will the military join the process? It’s hard to think of a single reason why. Had such a commission been part of the ‘deal’ in 2007, the institution might just have been compelled to. But at present, sitting pretty, as it is, it’s hard to imagine the institution being interested.

And will it be able to get its retired officials to attend — considering that retired generals Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani can barely agree on what happened in 1990? And what about the bureaucracy that was part and parcel of our authoritarian history?

But then, for those who think a truth and reconciliation commission offers all that its title claims, the actual experience of the TRC is far from perfect. It has its fair share of critics, especially those who suffered the excesses of the apartheid regime (the experience elsewhere appears to be no different). They felt that justice was not delivered without punishing those who had been at fault. There were also efforts by the other side to block the process.

For instance, F.W. de Klerk, who appeared before the commission to apologise, approached the courts to stop being implicated in a case of bombings in the 1980s in the commission’s report. Another former president, P.W. Botha, refused to appear before the commission.

But perhaps the most important difference between what the prime minister is asking for and what most truth and reconciliation commissions around the world have in common with each other is that the latter tend to be established to look into widespread human rights abuses by the state. From South Africa to Kenya to Morocco and East Timor, the objective is to document the tales of oppression and give a voice to the abused.

But what the prime minister and his predecessor are asking for is far different. While they may have been imprisoned under military regimes and been treated unfairly, they have hardly been victims of severe state violence.

While we may need such committees to perhaps address the grievances of many (individuals as well as communities) who have suffered at the hands of the state, mainstream political parties, especially the PML-N, have not really been victims in this sense. Political parties should consider a dialogue with the military (once suggested by the PPP’s Farhatullah Babar), instead of a truth and reconciliation commission.

The divisions within our political elites need addressing — but there are less grandiose ways of doing so than drawing parallels with apartheid and asking for a TRC.

Source: dawn.com/news/1410707/a-little-less-ambition-please

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Messiah Complex

By Zarrar Khuhro

May 28, 2018

WHO’S afraid of a little Armageddon? Certainly not evangelical US pastors Robert Jeffress and Robert Hagee, both of whom spoke at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

It was a glittering affair, graced as it was by the presence of First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, the so-called ‘Clown Prince’ Jared Kushner. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres with a side of ritual human sacrifice as dozens of Palestinians were mowed down by Israeli snipers exercising the restraint and decorum we have come to expect from the ‘most moral army’ of the ‘Middle East’s only democracy’.

But it wasn’t democracy that brought the preachers to the yard, nor was it any kind of love for the Jewish people. Jeffress, for example, is on record as having said that ‘Jews cannot be saved’ (and are thus destined for hell) and that Hitler was a ‘hunter’ sent by God to usher the Jews to the Promised Land — in short, someone Jews should in fact be grateful for, in the larger picture.

At the ceremony, Jeffress called the inauguration “a historic moment because it represents the United States recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something that the Bible and secular history have told us for 3,000 years”.

Unsurprisingly, evangelicals are also hardcore Trump supporters.

Well before he had even been invited, Jeffress had called Jerusalem “the touchstone of prophecy”. Prophecy: that’s the key to reconciling any contradiction there may be in Jeffress’ views on Jews and his unstinting support for Israel. Hagee spelled it out even more clearly, saying, “[shifting the embassy] is a fulfilment of the biblical position in the Torah, where God promises … He will make Israel the head of the nations, and that towards the end of days, Jerusalem and Israel will be the epicentre of everything that’s going to happen”.

End of Days: those three words sum up the attachment that these preachers and countless others like them have with Israel; they truly believe that the shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem will set into motion a series of prophesised events eventually leading to the trials of the Tribulation (a period where the antichrist will rule the world), which will be followed by the Rapture (in which all believing Christians will be raised to the heavens, and which will eventually lead to the battle of Armageddon and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Here’s the rough timeline: the Jews return to Israel, the Temple of Solomon is rebuilt (the Third Temple, to be exact) and then, and only then, does the Messiah return to lead the righteous in the final war against the forces of Darkness.

What the preachers believe, the flock does too: in a poll conducted last year, 80 per cent of US evangelical voters said they believed God had granted the entirety of the Holy Land (which comprises areas beyond the current political boundaries of Israel) to the Jewish people. A similar number evinced the belief that the creation of Israel was the fulfilment of biblical prophecy, and would hasten the Second Coming of Christ. It follows logically, that a similar majority also said that their political support for Israel was based on this very belief, and — in a more recent poll — the overwhelming majority also supported the embassy move.

Unsurprisingly, evangelicals are also hardcore Trump supporters, and he enjoys a 75pc favourability rating among that group, as opposed to about 42pc in the general population. Evangelicals also tend to be highly motivated voters and political workers and are considered a crucial vote bank in certain states.

Many Jewish fundamentalists share the evangelicals’ beliefs — up to a point. Asaf Fried, spokesman for the United Temple Movement, hailed Trump as a “special and holy” man whose actions were “guided by God” and were “an enormous step [towards] bringing the temple”. As far as the Return and Rebuilding go, the evangelicals are on the same page as Fried and his many supporters: both are waiting on a messiah, but after that all bets are off, as one creed’s Holy Warriors are the others’ Wretched Unbelievers. Until then, they’re the best of buds.

An excellent example of this covenant of convenience can be found in the person of the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman — the man who invited Jeffress to speak at the ceremony. Friedman was recently pictured smiling broadly while posing with a picture of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock mosque photo-shopped and replaced by the Third Temple (the Dome of the Rock would have to be pulled down in order for the temple to be rebuilt), and when called out on it, claimed it was an error and that he was “as mortified by it as any Palestinian”. That’s cute coming from a man who staunchly defends Israeli settlements and has personally raised millions for radical West Bank Jewish settlers. All’s fair, after all, when it comes to love and holy war.

Source: dawn.com/news/1410473/messiah-complex

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Watching America From Within

By Shahid Javed Burki

May 29, 2018

Watching America from within, as I do, can be very dispiriting. The loss of comfort is considerable for those who, like me, belong to the Muslim faith. For those of us who have come from Pakistan, the burden is twice as heavy. There can be no doubt what Donald Trump feels about Pakistan. That is so even though he knows very little about the country of my origin. Not too long ago, I met a retired lieutenant general who knew well some of the senior former American military men who occupy important positions in the Trump administration. The encounter was at a reception in Washington. “If you put a map of Asia with countries not identified by their names and ask the president to point to Pakistan — even Afghanistan — he is likely to put his finger on Nepal or Laos,” he said. Trump’s anger at Pakistan is based on the assumption that his country is not succeeding in Afghanistan because of Pakistan’s perceived treachery. He has been quite vocal about his distaste for Pakistan. It was apparent on August 21st, 2017 when he announced his administration’s approach towards Afghanistan. His first tweet of the year 2018 was a sharp rebuke of Pakistan, brought about by no particular development.

“Pakistan,” wrote the president has “given us nothing but lies and deceit,” and accused it of providing safe havens to the terrorists “we hunt in Afghanistan.” Three days later, the United States government announced that it was suspending nearly all of the $13 billion in annual security aid to Pakistan. In putting Pakistan down, Trump has expressed a strong preference for strengthening relations with India. Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement that her government has asked “India to keep and eye on Pakistan.”

Trump and his administration have gone beyond expressing anti-Pakistan sentiment and suspending financial aid. On May 11th, the United States’ State Department barred diplomats working at the Pakistani embassy in Washington from travelling outside a 25-mile radius around the city without approval. Pakistan retaliated on the same day. While the United States’ restrictions apply only to the diplomats assigned to the embassy and their families, the Pakistani move was more far-reaching. It banned the Americans from using tinted glass windows or using diplomatic licence plates on private cars.

Affecting the Pakistanis living in the United States is also the sharp shift in the attitudes and worldview of a large segment of the population who are now to the extreme right of the American political spectrum. This is has happened as a result of the political rise of Donald Trump. His political rhetoric encouraged these groups. The extreme right is peopled mostly by angry white men. As Amanda Taub wrote in an analysis for The New York Times, “Two of modern society’s most disruptive forces — anger amongst many men over social changes they see as a threat, and the rise of social media upending how ideas spread and communicate. The alt-right wing populism, men’s rights groups and a renewed white supremacist movement have capitalised on many white men’s feelings of loss in recent years. The groups vary in who they blame, but they provide a sense of meaning and place for their followers.”

I ran into this kind of sentiment in a chance encounter with a young American at the airport in Istanbul. This happened a few days after Trump had unexpectedly won the US presidency. I was returning from Astana, Kazakhstan, after attending the annual meeting of a think tank called the Astana Club. I changed planes at Istanbul and was waiting at the business class gate for boarding the Turkish Airlines flight to Washington. I was the only person at the gate when a young, lightly bearded white man walked up to me and asked if I was travelling business class. I thought the question was a bit strange since I was waiting at the business class gate. He then volunteered some information about himself. He had just returned from some Central Asian country after signing a large, lucrative oil-exploration deal. But he had missed the flight to Denver, Colorado, where he lived. He was re-routed through Washington.

It was not clear to me why he offered all that information about himself. He then asked me where I was headed, something that would have been obvious to him since I was standing at the gate for a flight to Washington. I said I was also going to Washington. “Why are you going there?” he asked. I said I lived there. “Oh come on; that’s not what I am asking.” Now I understood what he was getting at. “Young man, I have lived in the United States longer than you have. I moved to America before you were born. But that is not what you are interested in. You want to know where I am originally from. I am from Pakistan and I am very proud of my Muslim heritage. Is there anything more I could tell you about myself?”

He said I spoke very well; I must be highly educated. I said I was. “You are probably holding a multi-million dollar job in an American corporation working out of Washington. It is people like you who are blocking the advance of people like me, the original Americans.” He then said that I was the sort of a person who must have voted for “that criminal” in the November elections. He was obviously referring to Hillary Clinton. I said I did and then walked away. This encounter was a good indication of where America was headed in terms of the expressed views of some of its citizens towards the non-white segment of the population. This anger was all there but Trump and his rhetoric made his followers less inhibited towards expressing it.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1721107/6-watching-america-within/?amp=1

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International Day of UN Peacekeepers

By Mohammad Jamil

May 29, 2018

THE United Nations General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which is observed every year. The theme for the 2018 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” to honour more than 3,700 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 129 who died last year. This year, the United Nations celebrates the 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, a unique and dynamic instrument developed to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace. The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

At a ceremony held in May 2016, the United Nations honored five Pakistani soldiers for their sacrifices, among over 137 peacekeepers who laid down their lives while serving the cause of peace around the world. On May 29, commemorative activities are held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and at peacekeeping operations and offices around the world. Today, UN peacekeeping deploys 125,000 including 91,000 military personnel, 13,000 police officers as well as 17000 international civilian staff that are serving in 16 operations on four continents. UN peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 124 Member States as well as critical equipment to sustain the operations. Peacekeeping is truly a global partnership and this number reflects strong global confidence in the value of the UN’s flagship enterprise.

In her treatise captioned ‘UN Peacekeeping Missions: Pakistan’s Soft Power’ research assistant Ume-Farwa stated: “UN peacekeeping missions are, indeed, an invaluable soft power asset for a leading troops contributor like Pakistan. By contributing immensely and consistently to the missions, Pakistan has established one fact: Pakistan stands for peace not for war and, therefore, it has the potential to establish itself as an international peacekeeping and peace building facilitator.” The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was designated by the General Assembly in 2002, in tribute to men and women serving in peacekeeping operations for their professionalism, dedication and courage. Peacekeeping has also proven to be a solid investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. Despite the size and breadth of its operations at just under $7 billion a year, peacekeeping’s annual budget remains less than on half of one percent of global military spending.

In 2013, Pakistan was 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 seven countries. At the present, Pakistan’s troops and advisors are involved in peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan and Western Sahara etc. 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. Within one month of its coming into being, Pakistan joined the United Nations and is committed to a world in which upholding human dignity is the highest value and maintaining global peace a sacred duty.

Pakistan envisages a world, which is free of want, hunger and deprivation – a world where justice and fair play govern the affairs of human beings, and inequality, oppression and war are abhorred. Pakistan has put this vision into practice by making significant contributions to the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, in particular the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security, as a member of the Security Council and through its contribution to UN Peacekeeping. Two years ago Pakistan was one of the largest troop contributors, constituting over 9% of UN’s total deployment. Pakistan is also the sixth largest police contributor. Last year, Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to peacekeeping operations of the UN in various conflict zones. The role Pakistan played in UN Peacekeeping Missions in Congo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Darfur, Haiti, Kosovo and Western Sahara has greatly been appreciated.

The then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had visited Pakistan on the eve of its Independence Day on 14h August 2013, and hailed the country’s lead role in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Ban Ki-Moon had said. “Training is a strategic investment in peacekeeping and here you will build the skills in preparing peacekeepers to take on a new generation of challenges.” Ban Ki-Moon told an audience at the inauguration of the Centre for International Peace and Stability in Islamabad that he was overwhelmed with gratitude: “gratitude as the United Nations Secretary-General and gratitude as a global citizen for what Pakistan and her people have been doing for international peace and security.”

It was a great honour for Pakistan when the Secretary General said that more than 100 countries contributed troops and police for United Nations peacekeeping missions, but Pakistan was number one. He added it was impossible to speak about the history of UN peacekeeping without highlighting the country’s contributions. Pakistani army peacekeepers have participated in 43 UN peacekeeping missions including some of the most challenging ones. As many as 153 Pakistani peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives so far including 23 officers for global peace and stability under UN auspices.

Source: pakobserver.net/international-day-of-un-peacekeepers/

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