Pakistan playing crucial role in maintaining peace: UN chief
Always struck by Pakistan’s resilience, exceptional generosity and compassion: Guterres
ISLAMABAD: United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres Monday said there was a need to implement UN resolutions on Kashmir.
During his meeting with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters, UNSG acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution in UN peacekeeping Missions and extraordinary achievements in counter terrorism. While discussing overall regional security situation including Afghan Refugees issue, Afghan Reconciliation Process and Kashmir dispute and other matters of mutual interest, COAS said that Pakistan is committed and determined to achieve “a stable, peaceful and normalized Pakistan”. Guterres thanked Pakistan for full access given to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Kashmir and commended improved security situation in Pakistan and positive efforts towards regional peace and stability.
Earlier, addressing a seminar at NUST, Antonio Guterres lauded Pakistan’s efforts for the peace in the world and said that he is proud of Pakistan’s role in peace mission.
“It is an honour for me to address in NUST,” he said and added Pakistan is playing a very crucial role in maintaining peace in region. “More than 150,000 people from Pakistan took part in peace missions,” he said.
The UN chief said that 157 personnel laid their life during peace keeping missions, adding that new technology and social media has changed the war. He said Pakistan army personnel are working as first commanders in peace keeping missions.
Guterres also inaugurated purpose-built Peacekeeping Training Institute and photo exhibition showing 60 years journey of Pakistan peacekeeping operations and sacrifices for global peace.
In his address to an international conference on the future of the 4.6 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan titled 40 years of Afghan Refugees Presence in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity, organised jointly by the Pakistan government and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Islamabad, Guterres affirmed that the United Nations favours repatriation of Afghan refugees.
“We have come together to recognise a remarkable story of solidarity and compassion. It is important to do so because it is a story that spans over decades,” he said. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, ministers and senior officials from 20 countries, participated in the conference. “For 40 years, the people of Afghanistan have faced many crises, for 40 years the people of Pakistan have responded with solidarity, he said. He said this generosity spans across decades and generations and this is the world’s largest protracted refugee situation in recorded history.
Talking about his past assignment as the UN human rights commissioner, he said Pakistan was a familiar destination. “This is also a story close to my heart”, he said, adding, “during most of my time at the post, Pakistan was the number one refugee-hosting nation in the world. Un chief said for more than three out of every four years since 1979, either Pakistan or Iran have ranked as the top refugee-hosting country.
He said, even though major conflicts have since erupted in other parts of the world and the refugee population has soared, Pakistan is still today the world’s second largest refugee hosting country in the world.
“On every visit here, I have been struck by their resilience, exceptional generosity and compassion. I not only saw compassion in words but in deeds.
“The generous spirit is fully in-line with what I regard as the best description for refugee protection is found in Surah Al-Tawbah of the Holy Quran and I quote: “And if anyone seeks your protection then grant him protection so therein he can hear the words of God. Then escort him where he can be secure.” During his speech he reminded the world Pakistan’s contribution towards peace in the world and regarding hosting refugees. “We have been proud to work with you to support Pakistan host communities of Afghan refugees. However, we must recognise that international support for Pakistan has been minimal compared to your own national efforts”, he said. Talking about Afghanistan he said, the Afghan conflict drags on and on and we see deep impact of the protracted nature of conflict, poverty and forced displacement. He said he knows the solution lies in Afghanistan and hope the signals of a possible passageway of peace will lead to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.