Journalists kept out of exhibition on peacekeeping
By Masood Haider
UNITED NATIONS: The Pakistan Mission to the UN held – virtually in camera – an exhibition of photographs celebrating 50 years of Pakistan’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations at which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the chief guest.
Neither foreign nor Pakistani journalists were invited to the event which, public relations experts believe should have been thrown open for everyone to see the Pakistani peacekeepers’ excellent performance in UN’s flagship activity.
Even the United Nations information professionals expressed surprise when they came to know that there would be no journalist at the event held earlier this week.
In his speech released by the United Nations, the secretary-general paid glowing tributes to Pakistani peacekeepers for having kept alive the world body’s values and goals.
“The United Nations has 100,000 peacekeepers deployed around the world. One in ten is Pakistani. To put this another way, Pakistan is just one of UN’s 192 member states… but it is deploying a tenth of our peacekeeping personnel,” he said.Noting that the first Pakistani peacekeeper served in Congo 50 years ago, the secretary-general said Pakistan’s contribution had been consistent ever since, having served in 38 missions worldwide. “They are involved now in nine of our most dangerous operations, with large contingents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast and Liberia.”
Mr Ban mourned the death of 122 Pakistani military, police and civilian personnel while serving the UN. “They are sons and daughters of Pakistan… but they are also members of the UN family. We mourn their deaths. We remember their lives. And we vow to carry forward their work for peace.”