29th May marks the 75th anniversary of International Peacekeeping Day. In conflict studies, Peacekeeping as a term defines those activities and actions that tend to keep conflict and conflicting parties under control and involve such activities that serve as a pathway to uproot conflict as a whole and reduce battlefield deaths.
UN Peacekeeping Missions recently have undergone several reforms and evolution to better their efficacy, coherence, and responsiveness for which they have been criticized.
While the effectiveness of the very purpose of these missions is highly debated, May 29 calls for commemorating and honoring the services of all those countries and people coming together with a vision to ensure peace, stability, and sustainability across the world. Pakistan is no exception.
The image of Pakistan has, in international politics has highly revolved around security and strategic realms. Considering that image, Peacekeeping Missions are just one of the many features where Pakistan has carved out its identity as a state that is committed to the security of not only its own but the entire world. Since its first Peacekeeping Mission in Congo in 1960, Pakistani blue helmets have served with honor and valor in 48 United Nations missions in almost all continents of the world.
While endorsing Action for Peace (A4P) and Action for Peace Plus (A4P+) initiatives that tend to improve efficacy and consolidate the security of Peacekeeping Missions-Pakistan, being one of the few states, institutionalized peacekeeping by such structural initiatives as that of Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS). To date CIPS has run 175 courses, training 2853 Peacekeepers, including 407 officers from other states. In this way, CIPS stands as an embodiment of Pakistan’s efforts of consolidating regionalism and Internationalism and standing as a responsible and capable state thinking for all and common peace and prosperity.
Besides working towards peace and security in war-torn communities, Pakistan has been at the forefront of peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts. Pakistan’s Field Hospital established as part of UN Mission Mali, is providing premium healthcare services, including lifesaving surgeries to the dependent clientele of 3500 UN Peacekeepers besides facilitating affected civilians of the warn-ravaged region. In April 2023, the services of Pakistan’s hospital were appreciated at various levels in mission as well as UN headquarters for its constant quest for excellence and is in line with the needs of mission dynamics.
Through professionalism and dedication, Pakistani Peacekeepers have remained pivotal in the UN’s efforts to reform and strengthen the Peacekeeping Architecture. Pakistani Engineers are maintaining 1430 km of main Communication Arteries connecting 45% of the total land territory in the Central African Republic (CAR) and providing assured connectivity to 60% of the population of CAR even during the worst climatic conditions.
Pakistan has exercised resolve and manifested resilience and courage in working in some of the most dangerous war-ravaged regions of the world.
Not only it has paved the way in ensuring peace and preventing full-fledged war in such regions but its commitments to humanitarian appeal are no hidden reality. From the 2022 South Sudan floods whereby Pakistani engineers constructed the dyke system to the provision of 60 metric tons of various stores in the northern part of Abyei to Pakistani doctors and Engagement Teams running awareness and hygiene campaigns to psychological counseling to contributing the education field in various missions, Pakistan has proved to resolve and promptness of its security architecture in the region and beyond.
Pakistan also hosts one of the oldest UN Peacekeeping Mission i.e., the UN Mission Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to monitor the ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and has committed to it, unlike the other stakeholder in the domain. This day, hence, is a time to commemorate the services of Pakistan’s 225, 000 peacekeepers who have served until now, as well as honor the martyrdom of 171 Pakistani peacekeepers in the process.
29 May, on one end, reminisces of Pakistan’s advancing role in the UN’s agenda of maintaining peace and security around the world, and on the other, it is a contemplating point at the structural amendments still needed in the peacekeeping apparatus of the world so that peace and prosperity are ensured for all nations and people of the world, once and for all.
The author is a graduate of International Relations. With the experience of working with two top-notch Think Tanks, namely IPRI and SDPI, she has in her credit Research Papers and a number of articles on various national and International platforms. She tweets @sana_hamid_here