Additional Pakistani army units ready for deployment to U.N. peacekeeping missions: Maleeha

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UNITED NATIONS, June 18 (APP): Pakistan Friday called for making arrangements for swift deployment of additional Pakistani army units and equipment that a special United Nations team had picked for service in the U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, while reaffirming its commitment to the world body’s flagship activity.

“We strongly recommend that the UN support mechanism may now be geared up for speedy deployment of selected units to UN missions,” Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told a follow-up meeting of the recent Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, as a co-host of the Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping last September, had announced additional pledges, including an Infantry Battalion; Transport, Engineering and Signal companies; additional utility helicopters; a Level-II and a Level-III Hospital for deployment in future UN peacekeeping missions.

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Ambassador Lodhi said, had just concluded a successful visit to Pakistan during which it assessed the readiness of the troops for deployment and their conformity to the pledges the country’s leadership had made.

“This is our collective endeavor and we all need to take steps to make it a success,” the Pakistani envoy told delegates.

“Pakistan’s commitment to UN Peacekeeping remains strong, consistent and unstinting,” Ambassador Lodhi added.

“We continue to figure among the world’s top troop contributors. Our peacekeepers have an exemplary track record of delivering in testing circumstances and in implementing and fulfilling demanding mandates with professionalism and distinction.”

More than 7,000 uniformed personnel from Pakistan are serving in seven peacekeeping missions, making it one of the top troop- and police-contributor.

Ambassador Lodhi also backed the UK initiative for a ministerial-level meeting in London in September to follow up on the pledges made at the Leaders Summit, and said that Pakistan’s Defence Minister Muhammad Khwaja Asif would attend it.

She added, “Pakistan’s continued commitment and resolve to live up to our responsibility as a major troop contributor and to fulfill our obligations in this regard. We stand ready to deliver on the pledges made at the Leaders Summit.”

Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded Pakistani peacekeepers for their service under the UN flag in hot spots around the world, saying they had made valuable contribution in maintaining peace as also helping communities suffering from war.

“For well over half a century, Pakistani peacekeeping troops have seen injustice in far off places and been forces for a better world,” he said at a reception hosted by Ambassador Lodhi to commemorate Pakistani Peacekeepers Day.