ISLAMABAD: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday paid tribute to the “heroic 157 Pakistani peacekeepers that sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of the most vulnerable populations” of the world.
Addressing an event at the National University of Sciences and Technology’s (NUST) Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS), Guterres said he was “proud to be a colleague of theirs”.
The CIPS, he said, was one of the most important institutions in the world that lent support to various peace activities in “an extremely competent and professional way”.
“We know peace doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a result of difficult decisions based on solid evidence and facts. [The CIPS] and institutions like it are improving our knowledge and understanding of threats to peace and sources of instability.
“You’re doing important work in the service of peace,” he said.
Noting that he, himself, was a graduate of engineering, Guterres said he wished to go back to college sometimes when he saw the facility and opportunities available to these students.
“The students of NUST are making the most of their education by aligning their academic studies with the broader goals of sustainable and inclusive development, equal opportunities, environmental protection, and social progress.
“And science and technologies are an excellent starting point to changing the world. I wish you all the best in your efforts,” he added.
The UNSG praised Pakistan as both a partner and a crucial regional player. It is “one of our most consistent and reliable contributors to peace efforts around the world”, Guterres noted.
“Since the first Pakistani deployment to Congo as it was referred to in 1960, Pakistan has contributed more than 150,000 personnel to 41 peacekeeping missions in 23 countries. And, as I mentioned, 157 Pakistani military, police, and civilian personnel have paid the ultimate price while serving under the United Nations’ flag.
“We will never forget their sacrifice,” he stressed.