The United Nations will posthumously honour 117 peacekeepers from around the world, including six Pakistanis, in a special ceremony on Thursday (tomorrow) in connection with the Day of the UN Peacekeepers.
According to a UN announcement, the Pakistani peacekeepers are Police Lance Corporal Tahir Ikram, Police Lance Corporal Adil Jan, Havildar Muhammad-Nil-Naeem, NCE Tahir Mehmood, Havildar Muhammad Shafeeq, and Abrar Sayed.
Lance Corporal Tahir, Lance Adil, and Havildar Muhammad all served with UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); while NCE Tahir was deployed with the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO); Havildar Shafeeq from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); and Abrar served in a civilian capacity with (MINURSO).
Pakistan is the 5th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the global peacekeeping operations, currently deploying more than 4,100 military and police personnel to the UN operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
During the special ceremony on Thursday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will also posthumously award the ‘Capt Mbaye Diagne Medal’ for Exceptional Courage” to Capt Abdelrazakh Hamit Bahar of Chad, who served in Mali (MINUSMA).
It is only the second time that Capt Mbaye Diagne Medal – named after a Senegalese peacekeeper who was killed in Rwanda in 1994 after saving countless civilian lives — since the inaugural medal was presented to Capt Diagne’s family in 2016.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The theme for this year’s observance is ‘People. Peace, The Power of Partnerships’.
In his message ahead of the UN Peacekeeping Day, Secretary General Guterres referred to an old saying that “peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the prize’. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations, said that UN peacekeepers work on a daily basis to protect vulnerable people in the world’s most fragile political and security situations.