UNITED NATIONS, Nov 9 (Pakistan Point News - APP - 09th Nov, 2016 ) : Pakistan has called for strengthening the hands of UN peacekeepers who now face targeted and asymmetric hostile acts during their deployment in conflict areas where there no peace to keep. Speaking in the UN Security Council, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said it was therefore unfair to blame the U.N. peacekeepers when they fall short of expectations after having been placed in a role for which they have traditionally not been mandated much less equipped.
At the same time, the Pakistani envoy said the UN could not turn away from conflict areas where peace is so gravely threatened by actors that recognize no restraints in their brutal tactics against civilians and peacekeepers. "But then the mandate needs to be clearly distinguished between peace- enforcement and peace-keeping," she said in a debate on 'peace operations facing asymmetrical threats.' Ambassador Lodhi said the changing nature of threats was challenging peacekeeping's traditional role, citing the presence of rebel groups and flow of illicit weapons among the contemporary threats in that regard.
Greater clarity was required on how peacekeepers should function in asymmetric threat environments, which placed them in harm's way since they faced situations beyond their capabilities and resources, she said. Deployment decisions must be based on consultation, preparation and knowledge of the ground situation, she said, adding that, as principal stakeholders, troop-contributing countries must be fully consulted on mandate design and idea testing.
The Council, she said, must be more circumspect when mandating enforcement tasks, as peacekeepers should neither become a party to conflict nor perceived as a tool of external intervention. "Peacekeeping works best when there is peace to keep and a political process to sustain it," she stressed. Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-nation Council that Pakistan, as a leading troop contributor, had contributed over 150,000 personnel and served in 41 missions in 23 countries since 1960, working in diverse and difficult conflict and post-conflict situations.
One hundred and fortyfour Pakistani peacekeepers had made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of world peace. Pakistan, she said, considers UN peacekeeping a flagship enterprise for the maintenance of international peace and security. "The Blue Helmets are at the forefront in upholding the UN charter 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'." APP/ia/bmq