NEW YORK (Staff Report) – Pakistan’s longstanding contribution to UN peacekeeping has earned it respect and influence in the world body, said Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi.
“Pakistan takes pride in its longstanding contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts which are emblematic of the country’s commitment to maintaining international peace and security,” said Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to United Nations.
She was talking to two groups of Pakistani students who recently visited the Mission. A group of boys from the Army Public School Peshawar are visiting the US on an exchange program while students from Froebel’s International School are in New York to participate in the UN’s Annual Youth Assembly.
Lodhi said Pakistan has always been among the world’s leading troop contributing countries and at present ranks number two in the number of troops deployed in different missions.
Briefing Pakistan’s young citizens about the role the country has played at the UN, she explained it had historically engaged actively at the United Nations on a wide range of issues, and currently has played an active role in negotiations in the evolution of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, which will usher in a new global paradigm for the next 15 years.
“Our primary objective at the UN is to protect and promote Pakistan’s interests across a range of issues”, Ambassador Lodhi said. She added the issues like Jammu & Kashmir, counter-terrorism, international security, UN Reform and Afghanistan were among its policy priorities at the UN and the Mission remain engaged in these issues as a major voice at the UN.
Ambassador Lodhi said while she was Pakistan’s first female Ambassador to the UN, Pakistan had appointed some of its most distinguished diplomats to serve as Permanent Representatives to the UN; including personalities like Pitras Bokhari, Syed Amjad Ali, Agha Shahi, Jamshed Marker and Munir Akram.
“Pakistan has therefore, over the years, set a tradition of active and skillful diplomacy at the UN and enjoys an excellent reputation there,” she added.
Talking about the upcoming General Assembly Session, she said UN would celebrate its 70th anniversary this year with several high level meetings taking place in September in which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would actively participate.
Lodhi also explained to students the role played by various UN agencies in providing humanitarian assistance, promoting development and alleviating the suffering of people in disaster and conflict stricken regions around the world.
As the current President of the UNICEF Executive Board, Lodhi noted how the organisation was purposefully promoting the welfare of children through various projects in many countries including Pakistan.
She also responded to questions posed by students who were keen to know more about Pakistan’s priorities and role at the UN.