ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday appreciated Pakistani soldiers for serving in the most complex and dangerous conflict zones as part of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

In a tweet, he said eight Pakistani peacekeepers were honoured posthumously on the completion of 75 years of the UN peacekeeping mission. “Pakistan was proud of being one of the largest contributors to peace missions under the United Nations umbrella.”

“We are proud of our peacekeepers for their unprecedented commitment to duty,” he added.

On May 25, the UN honoured at a solemn ceremony 103 military, police and civilian personnel from around the world, including eight Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year.

The special ceremony was presided over by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres which marked the 75th anniversary of UN peacekeeping.

In the ceremony, the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace during the preceding year.

Aamir Khan, Pakistan’s deputy permanent representative to the UN ambassador, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen peacekeepers.

Six Pakistan peacekeeping troops — Havildar Muhammad Ismail, Major Faizan Ali, Lt Col Asif Ali Awan, Naib Subedar Sami Ullah Khan, Major Muhammad Saad Nomani and Lance Havildar Muhammad Jamil Khan — were martyred while serving with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) when their helicopter crashed on March 29 last year.

Moreover, Havildar Babar Siddique lost his life while also serving in Monusco, whereas Corporal Rana Muhammad Tahir Islam was martyred while working with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic.

Pakistan is currently the fifth-largest contributor to UN peacekeeping, with nearly 4,200 military and police officials serving in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, Congo, Mali, South Sudan and Western Sahara.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2023

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