by Taimur Khan
There are plenty of factors that serve as a motivation for any state to play a consequential role at the regional and international fora. Among these, the most significant international forum has to be the United Nations (UN). Talking about Pakistan, it has always actively participated in the activities conducted by the UN. Just like other states, Pakistan’s general way of dealing with the UN has totally been conditioned by its own national needs and exposure. Since, September 30, 1947, Pakistan stayed committed to the principles and goals of the UN.
Sovereign equality of all states, non-interference, and respect, good relations with the neighbors, safeguarding the rights of people, and peace are some of the dominant principles which form the basis of the UN and Pakistan’s relationship. From peacekeeping operations to Security Council expansion, from human rights to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, Pakistan has had a satisfactory role to play in accordance with the UN under these objectives.
UN has played the role of a custodian and an arbiter of global peace and security and Pakistan has proved to be a constant support. The longest running and earliest peacekeeping mission that falls under the UN has to be the UN military observer group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). As soon as it was formed, Pakistan became its recipient and that is how it started recognizing the value of peacekeeping missions. As the biggest troop contributing nation to the UN peacekeeping tasks, Pakistan’s pledge to global peace and security is entrenched.
The first ever contingent deployed by Pakistan was in 1960 in Congo. Moreover, around 20 military observers were also sent by Pakistan to the UN Transition Assistance Group in Namibia (UNTAG). Ever since then, it has participated in 41 peacekeeping missions in 23 nations, with more than 150,000 peacekeepers, some sent to quite troublesome areas under difficult conditions. Under this, a sum of 137 Pakistani peacekeepers embraced martyrdom. At present, Pakistan is one of the biggest troop givers, with 8,230 peacekeepers, comprising over 9% under the UN’s collective deployment.
Back in 2001, UN’s Secretary General Kofi Annan also praised the role Pakistan has played in the UN over the years. He said:
“In peacekeeping alone, Pakistan has taken part in more than 25 missions over the last 40 years, and 57 of your soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of world peace, and the United Nations. I salute this record of global idealism because I believe it reflects a determination among the Pakistani people to serve the world.”
Pakistan has always shown consideration towards the global non-proliferation concerns. It sticks to the core principles of the UN that promotes complete disarmament and elimination of weapons of mass destruction. This was visible over the years in the several proposals that were made after the 1974 Indian nuclear war which aimed to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons. There are multiple proposals given by Pakistan initially to the UN which included adherence to the NPT (Non-proliferation treaty) by India and Pakistan, acceptance of safeguards that fall under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the establishment of a nuclear free zone in the South Asian region, a mutual inspection of nuclear facilities present in India and Pakistan, etc.
As an advocate of arms control and disarmament, Pakistan puts forward four resolutions every year in the United Nations General Assembly. They revolve around reinforcing the international norms on conventional arms control, confidence building measures regionally, regional disarmament, and the significance of giving Negative Security Assurances to non-atomic weapon States.
When we talk about human rights, unstinting support is given towards promoting fundamental human rights universally by Pakistan. It abides by the rules and regulations given out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, Pakistan always seeks resolution over the Kashmir dispute based on the resolutions given by the Security Council. It is firmly determined in seeking support for the people of Jammu & Kashmir so they can freely choose their destiny according to the principles of the UNSC.
Due to its dynamic participation, Pakistan has somewhat won the status of a champion in the developing countries and the Islamic world. The consistency showed by the state and the success it received in many elections to several UN bodies can be considered as a manifestation of its stature. Ever since Pakistan became a member of the UN, it has been quite vocal about the causes of Afro-Asian states and has been an advocate of their right to self-rule. It has always been the first one to raise concerns over non-self-governing territories and trust territories like Tunisia, Indonesia, Morocco, etc. and to support the Palestinian cause. The way Pakistan endorsed the admission of new members in the UN to its firm opposition against racial discrimination has gained it the global recognition and approbation.
Ever since Pakistan’s admission into the UN, it has tried to envisage all the goals and principles that were a part of the UN charter in its contributions. Pakistan can be seen as an ardent supporter of multilateralism. All in all, we have seen that Pakistan has played a vital role in the UN and has a great tendency to shape the International structure through its dealing.