The United Nations (UN) has honoured 129 military, police and civilian personnel from 44 countries, including two Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2020.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Munir Akram, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen Pakistani peacekeepers.
Sepoy Muhammad Azhar Aziz who served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Imtiaz Hussain who served in a civilian capacity for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic had lost their lives in the line of duty.
“I feel deeply honored and proud on receiving these awards on behalf of two Pakistani peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of the UN during 2020,” Ambassador Akram said while talking to APP after the ceremony.
“Through their ultimate sacrifice, the late Imtiaz Hussain and Sepoy Azhar Aziz upheld the longstanding tradition of honour, courage and dedication of Pakistani peacekeepers,” he said.
“Their singular contribution also manifests Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to international peace and stability.
“We salute these brave sons of Pakistan, and commit to keeping their legacy,” Ambassador Akram added.
A total of 157 Pakistani peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag over the years, according to the UN.
Pakistan is the 6th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping missions, currently deploying more than 4,700 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations.
Pakistani peacekeepers working with the UN are deployed in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Western Sahara.
The ceremony, presided over by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, marked the annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers in which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace, during the preceding year.
“Despite Covid-19, across all our missions, peacekeepers have not only been adapting to continue to deliver their core tasks, but they are also assisting national and community efforts to fight the virus,” Guterres said.
“I am proud of the work they have done,” he added.