UNITED NATIONS, June 26: Pakistan rejected on Monday some ‘unwarranted references’ to Pakistan made in a UN report that termed its law-enforcement operation against terrorists in a tribal agency as ‘armed conflict’, and called for correcting the reference.

“We are disappointed that the authors of this report (on the protection of civilians in armed conflict) have clearly violated the mandate by mentioning Pakistan in the report,” Pakistan’s Deputy Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar said during an open UN Security Council debate on the report.

The report, which was issued in the name of Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, referred to the displacement of civilians from armed conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The report also said that some 200,000 people had been displaced in Pakistan since January by security operations in the Khyber Agency. It also made references to denial of access in conflict areas to humanitarian workers in different parts of the world, including Pakistan.

“The secretary-general’s report has unwarranted references to Pakistan, and which we plainly reject,” Mr Tarar said.

“Pakistan has suffered immensely from the menace of terrorism, with thousands of lives lost among the security and law-enforcement bodies and civilians,” he said. “Pakistan’s law-enforcement operation against terrorists cannot be termed ‘armed conflict’.”

He said questions had been raised about the Security Council’s role and mandate and its ability to objectively deliver on such themes as “the protection of civilians in armed conflict”. The compelling need to protect civilians in armed conflict had led to a broad consensus that such protection be pursued objectively and without politicisation. Regrettably, he said, there had been a trend of out-of-context and selective reporting on those issues. The last two reports of the secretary-general on protection of civilians, including the one under consideration, stretched to situations that could not be described as armed conflict and were thus outside the mandate of the report.

Noting that Pakistan was a leading troop contributor to peacekeeping missions, the Pakistani envoy emphasised the need to respect host-country primacy in ensuring civilian protection and stressed the need for careful evaluation of all legal aspects of civilian protection in peacekeeping operations, given misplaced expectations under a recent mandate revision that asked peacekeepers to pre-empt a threat to a civilian population. It was important to resist the urge to use UN Secretariat reports to advance notions that had failed to gain any traction in inter-governmental processes.

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