UN peacekeeping missions aim to build sustainable security and peace in countries affected by conflict. They must also deal with the complex international politics, resourcing, and management of the mission itself.
Since the end of the cold war, UN peacekeeping operations have been designed to bring wars to an early end, protect civilians, and actively support longer-term peace and security. This requires military action and diplomacy to help enforce peace agreements. Large military and police can be deployed to help protect civilians. Major programs are often needed to address human needs, support peace agreement implementation, and tackle the causes of conflict.
However, international support for UN peacekeeping is waning – and challenges, such as increased international tensions and critical scrutiny, are increasing.
The experience of peace missions run between 1991 and 2011 showed that they needed to address a wide range of issues in countries emerging from war to have a good chance of success. In addition to military peacekeeping, reconstruction, and humanitarian operations, UN missions have increasingly included other roles.
These range from policing, justice, and the demobilization and disarmament of armed groups to establishing legitimate and stable post-conflict government and public services, refugee return, the protection and empowerment of women, and job creation. In the process, the UN moved from previous “peacekeeping” doctrines to more robust and comprehensive “peacebuilding” approaches.
Pakistan is one of the longest-serving and largest contributors to UN Peacekeeping for decades. Since joining the United Nations on Sept 30, 1947, Pakistan has participated in 70 UN peacekeeping missions across the globe. The Pakistan armed forces are the third largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping efforts, behind India and Ethiopia.
Pakistan is proud of its long-standing and consistent contributions to UN peacekeeping spanning over six decades. Since 1960, over 200,000 of our service men and women have served with honor and valor in 46 UN Missions in almost all continents of the world. Through their professionalism and dedication, Pakistani peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in every mission they have participated in. 169 of our bravest peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty for the cause of international peace and security.
Pakistani Women Peacekeepers have also been helping in conflict and post-conflict situations, and inspiring women around the globe. A team of our officers is presently serving as the first all-female group from Pakistan in a UN peacekeeping mission, deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing a range of resources to the region including psychologists, stress counselors, vocational training officers, gender advisors, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers, and logistics officers. These deployments reflect Pakistan’s deep-rooted commitment to women’s critical role in the promotion of sustainable peace and security.
Pakistani women are also making their mark on US peace missions. Pakistan has achieved the UN goal of sending 15 percent of female staff officers to these missions and now nearly 450 Pakistani women are serving in various countries across the globe.
Pakistan has the highest number of women in blue helmets in the world. As one of the top troop-contributing countries, Pakistan deeply values the vital role played by ‘blue helmets’ in maintaining security and stability in many conflict-ridden areas around the world. Pakistan had led the way in deputing female peacekeepers in “record time.” A team of our officers is presently serving as the first all-female group from Pakistan in a UN peacekeeping mission, deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Pakistani women officers provide a range of resources to the region including through work as psychologists, stress counselors, vocational training officers, gender advisers, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers, and logistics officers.
Pakistan’s contribution to peacekeeping on the ground has also been complemented by our sustained engagement in peacekeeping and peace-building policy development.
Pakistan still has more than 7,000 personnel deployed in nine countries as part of 14 ongoing UN missions. During its long association with UN peacekeeping missions, Pakistan has lost 157 personnel and 24 officers, martyred during their efforts to restore peace and stability in some of the world’s most turbulent regions.
During his visit to Pakistan last year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appreciated the contribution of Pakistani women in peacekeeping. “Pakistan is a leader in championing women peacekeepers and an example for other troop contributors,” he said.
At the UN Headquarters, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath to honor the nearly 4,200 United Nations peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948. And later, he presided over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjold Medals of Courage was awarded posthumously to 117 military, police, and civilian peacekeepers, including six Pakistanis, who lost their lives serving under the United Nations flag in 2021.
Author: The Author has done his MPhil in Strategic Studies from the National Defence University and worked as a Visiting Faculty member in the Department of International University, Muslim Youth University, Islamabad.