New York, 21 October 2021 (TDI): Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, applauded the undaunted efforts of Pakistani Peacekeepers. While speaking during the Joint General Debate at the Fourth Committee on 20 Oct 2021, Ambassador Akram remarked:

“Over the last six decades, Pakistani peacekeepers have operated effectively in some of the most challenging environments due to high morale, discipline, rich experience and training.”

Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world that has demonstrated such commitment to UN peacekeeping missions. For more than six decades, the country has consistently ranked among the top five contributors of personnel, with more than 200,000 troops deployed in nearly every continent.

Pakistan’s first UN peacekeeping deployment took place in Congo in 1960, and over 200,000 Pakistani soldiers have since served in 60 missions across 28 nations.

As part of 12 ongoing UN missions, Pakistan still has over 6,000 personnel stationed in nine countries. Pakistan has lost 157 soldiers and 24 officers during its lengthy affiliation with UN peacekeeping missions, martyred in their efforts to restore peace and stability in some of the world’s most volatile regions.

Pakistani women in UN Peacekeeping missions

Pakistani women are also making an impact on US peacekeeping efforts. Pakistan has met the UN’s goal of deploying 15% female staff officers to these missions, and approximately 450 Pakistani women are now serving in countries all over the world.

Pakistan was the first country to send female peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping missions as part of Female Engagement Teams (FETs). Currently, the country has two FETs in the UN missions in Congo and the Central African Republic.

The first ever Pakistani FET in any UN mission around the world received UN medals for serving in the Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), 4th January, 2020.

On the 18th of June 2019, the first Pakistani Female Engagement Team (FET) was deployed in South Kivu, Congo. The group of 15 women provides the region with a variety of services. Psychologists, stress counsellors, vocational training officers, gender advisers, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers, and logistics officers are among the professionals involved. On the 3rd of February 2020, seventeen more Pakistani women officers joined them.

Major Fauzia Parveen, the first Pakistani officer to serve as a peacekeeper in Cyprus, explained how crucial women were to peacekeeping operations. In her word

“Ever since the UN deployed the first woman peacekeeper in Liberia – and opened the door for women like me to have the honour of serving as blue berets – the world body has recognised the importance of women in peacekeeping. As 50 per cent of any society, it is a no-brainer that women have to be equal stakeholders if there is to be peace. In terms of peacekeeping operations in particular, women bring a certain nuance and sensitivity that makes the process much more robust.”

She also had the challenge of being the only Pakistani officer when she landed in Cyprus. “Pakistan has a long history of taking part in UN peacekeeping operations, but until I went there, it had sent no officer to Cyprus. The only Pakistani in the UN mission when I landed was an NCO. I was the first officer,” she said.

UN Peacekeeping missions- An overview

The United Nations Peacekeeping missions assist countries in navigating the arduous transition from conflict to peace. It has distinct advantages, including as legitimacy, burden sharing, and the ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, incorporating them with civilian peacekeepers, to meet a range of UN Security Council and General Assembly mandates.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties;
  • Impartiality;
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

There are currently 12 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on three continents.

12 UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world