The United Nations peacekeeping missions function in the riskiest environments in the world where the situation may spiral into a peace and security challenge, dealing with conflict situations where conventional response mechanisms fail to address the issues. Through these missions, tangible transformation has been made in different parts of the world. With an effective and quick response, United Nations peacekeeping missions provide security to the conflict- ridden and warn-torn regions and support political transitions while creating an environment for sustainable peace and security.
Pakistan’s participation in the United Nations peacekeeping missions is a tenet of its foreign policy that draws its inspiration from Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s February 1948 policy statement, “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed people of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter”. As one of the oldest and largest troops contributing countries, Pakistani peacekeepers’ performance and undisputed high professional standing has been widely appreciated over time. To the Pakistani troops, these missions provide great exposure to work along with the forces of different countries and operate in conflict management and post-conflict stabilization operations. Pakistan has also made efforts to provide specialized and innovative training through its academic and research programmes, keeping in view the contemporary best practices at the Center for International Peace and Stability.
The history of UN peacekeeping goes as far back as 1948, when the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in May 1948 as a small number of UN military observers were deployed in the Middle East to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The second peacekeeping operation was UNMOGIP that was constituted in 1949 to observe the ceasefire violation between India and Pakistan. Ever since the Simla Agreement, India has refused to accept third parties in the bilateral exchanges with Pakistan regarding Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). While Pakistan’s military authorities have lodged ceasefire complaints with UNMOGIP, military authorities in India haven’t lodged any complaint since 1972.
Additionally, the Government of Pakistan has also shared a dossier with the international community exposing Indian government’s human rights atrocities committed through the 900,000 soldiers deployed in IIOJK to oppress the residents and the attempts to obliterate Kashmiris’ indigenous identity. The dossier has enlisted 3,432 cases of war crimes in which 1,178 troops were involved. Besides the IIOJK issue, the dossier has shared the GPS coordinates of five training camps of ISIS that are located in India and one in IIOJK which clearly shows India’s patronage of ISIS and involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in training the terrorist recruits. Despite the efforts made by Pakistan to sensitize the world about India’s machinations and the dangers that Hindutva poses to the region and IIOJK, the international community has failed to hold India accountable for the human rights violations in IIOJK.
Despite the internal and external challenges on the eastern and western fronts, Pakistan has generously participated in UN peacekeeping missions to contribute towards global peace. It is a testament to Pakistan being a responsible nation that upholds peace. Besides Pakistan’s contributions to the UN missions, Pakistan fought a long war on the internal front, as highlighted by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his opinion piece for The Washington Post, “Between 2006 and 2015, nearly 50 militant groups declared jihad on the Pakistani state, conducting over 16,000 terrorist attacks on us. We suffered more than 80,000 casualties and lost over $150 billion in the economy. The conflict drove 3.5 million of our citizens from their homes.” Despite these daunting challenges, Pakistan was able to counter terrorism, a feat no other country has been able to accomplish. The international community must give Pakistan the due appreciation for its significant counterterrorism efforts.
The peace imperative has to be a priority for the region if we want to contribute to lasting peace that would make development and stability a possibility. Pakistan is a peace loving state that understands the international responsibilities and never lags behind in fulfilling them. Besides safeguarding and defending its own frontiers, Pakistan has proved to be a state that is determined to save humanity even at the cost of its own lives.
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