Munir Akram
File Photo

NEW YORK, Apr 11 (APP):A top Pakistani diplomat has expressed the hope that the United Nations under the new Biden administration, will revive its active engagement at the United Nations to enable the world community to effectively respond to global challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, terrorism and promoting Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

“Everyone at the UN is very happy that America is back, and the new U.S. administration has committed itself to participating actively in the UN, reviving multilateralism, and working with other member states to promote the goals and objectives of the UN Charter,” Munir Akram, Pakistan permanent representative to the UN, said in a virtual seminar organized by US Army War College.

Pakistan, he said, looked forward to cooperating with the United States at the UN on all key issues.

Based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the US Army War College educates and develops leaders for service at the strategic level while advancing knowledge in the global application of landpower.

Ambassador Akram told the army officers participating in the seminar that the U.S. move, over the last four years, to disengage itself from the U.N. had contributed to the diminution in the importance of the world body.

In his presentation, the Pakistani envoy explained the key features and functions of the United Nations and its affiliated organs in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as Pakistan’s active role at the UN, especially in the peace-keeping operations.

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The United Nations, he said, has always been an important body for Pakistan because its dispute with India over Jammu and Kashmir was referred to the Security Council in 1947.

The 15-member Council pronounced itself on the dispute, calling for a plebiscite, under the UN auspices, to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own future, and to decide whether they wish to join Pakistan or India, it was pointed out.

United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), has been stationed since 1948 to monitor the ceasefire between the two countries.

Pakistan has contributed over 200,000 peacekeepers in over 46 UN peacekeeping missions, and promoted actively the role of the UN peacekeeping for the preservation of international peace and security.

At the present moment, Ambassador Akram said Pakistan has a stake in a number of current issues that are before the United Nations.

He said Kashmir became a focus of attention when India abrogated its autonomy in 2019 and divided the occupied region into two parts, prompting Pakistan to raise it’s voice against these illegal measures.

“The situation between India and Pakistan in Kashmir remains a threat to international peace and security,” the Pakistani envoy said.

After a large number of ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region, he said guns have fallen silent and hoped that they would remain silent.

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On Afghanistan, he said, Pakistan had facilitated an agreement between the United States and the Taliban for an orderly and responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan, and for negotiations between the Afghan parties to achieve a political settlement.

On terrorism, he said, Pakistan had collaborated with the United States to destroy al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations, and suffered over 80,000 casualties in this ‘war on terrorism.’

Pakistan had succeeded after major military operations to clear its frontier territories of terrorist organizations.

“However,’ he said, “We continue to face the problem of terrorism today, which is externally sponsored by our neighbour –India — from the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan,” adding that this issue has been raised in the Security Council.

On disarmament, Pakistan has been a reluctant nuclear weapons state, as India went ahead with its nuclear explosions and “we were obliged to follow suit”.

Pakistan, he said, has adhered to the principles of nuclear non-proliferation and sought mutual restraint regime with India to control arms race between the two countries. “We have, as yet, not found a reciprocal positive response from our neighbour.”

Ambassador Akram regretted that civilian nuclear cooperation has not been made available to Pakistan, while India was a beneficiary.