MANHATTAN: Pakistan’s national flag was unfurled Friday in the United Nations (UN) compound by Ambassador Munir Akram to mark the country’s Independence Day, as a top UN official said that Pakistan can count on the world body.
“We count on Pakistan and all of you. And Pakistan can count on the United Nations,” Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a large gathering of UN officials of Pakistani origin and officers and staff of the Pakistan Mission to the UN celebrating the 74th anniversary of the country’s establishment.
Ambassadors of Egypt and Uzbekistan also attended the ceremony held under blazing sun on the UN’s North Lawn along the banks of the East River.
The function was jointly organized by the Pakistan Mission and the UN Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC)-Pakistan Club, which is headed by Irfan Soomro.
Ms. Mohammed, the deputy secretary-general who was the chief guest, said, “Pakistan on is a great friend of the UN and all of you have helped nurture those strong ties.
“The Secretary-General and I have a profound connection with Pakistan – and see it with all its potential and possibility.
“We know this is deeply rooted in Pakistani culture. We see it in the vision of (Quaid-e-Azam) Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We feel it in the poetry of Allama Iqbal. We hear it in the songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We are inspired by it through the giving spirit of Abdul Sattar Edhi. And, on good days, we celebrate it in the bats of the Pakistan cricket team!”
The United Nations, she added, had worked closely with Pakistan through the years, and it also relies heavily on Pakistan’s support.
“Pakistan is consistently one of the top refugee hosting countries. Pakistan is also reliably one of the largest contributors to UN peace-keeping,” the deputy secretary-general said.
“Today our hearts are heavy with the tragedy unfolding next door in Afghanistan,” Ms. Mohammed said, referring to the deteriorating security situation in the war-torn country.
“The United Nations has been with Pakistan through storms and droughts, through earthquakes and floods,”she said. “We will be with Pakistan through rain and sun.”
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram paid high tributes to the sterling leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal who envisioned and worked hard for the formation of the country against heavy odds.
He pointed to the benefits and blessings of freedom, saying, “It is therefore a sad remembrance that our independence has not yet been completed, as “our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir were denied the opportunity to exercise their right of self-determination and to join Pakistan, as they wished to do”.
Pakistan, he said, was born out of the principles that are reflected in the UN Charter, in particular, the principle of self-determination, a principle that has been responsible for the decolonization of the entire third world.
The UN Charter principles, the Pakistani envoy said, has guided Pakistan’s Foreign policy, pointing out that the father of the nation had stated, “We want peace with all, and enmity against none” — an encapsulation of the principles of non-use of force and respect for sovereign equality, respect for non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
Ambassador Akram said Pakistan has contributed significantly to the United Nations and to its work, having served in the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as a principal member of the UN peacekeeping forces.
Pakistani women had also contributed in a big measure to the formation of Pakistan, he said. “Some of our leaders at the birth of our country were women who lead the way to independence. Some of our leaders today are ministers, parliamentarians … serving the country with great pride.”
Pakistani female peacekeeping engagement unit, deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), had served with great distinction as also the police commissioner in the Sudan as well as the medal winners, he said.
“We will continue our commitment to United Nations,” the Pakistani envoy said, while underlining the rising global tensions at a time when the world is afflicted by a major pandemic and the looming threat of climate change. The United Nations, he said, was the only organization capable of promoting international cooperation to deal with those challenges.
In a message, the president of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, who is not in New York, praised the “great strides” Pakistan has made, and continues to make, including its contribution to the United Nations work.
From the ambitious programme to plant 10 billion trees and fight against climate change to empowering women to standing as a leader in disaster risk reduction, response and recovery, he said Pakistan continues to play a proactive and constructive role on the world’s political and economic stage.
“As the President of the United Nations General Assembly, I thank the Government of Pakistan for its continued efforts,” Bozkir said. “And I extend my deepest appreciation to all Pakistani staff and personnel within the UN family from sustainable development to peace and security effort to human rights, the people of Pakistan are standing up for supporting the pillars, upon which this institution was founded.”
Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees and Uzbek Ambassador Bakhtiyor Ibragimov facilitated the people of Pakistan on their Independence day and lauded the country’s progress in all walks of life. They spoke about their cooperation with the Pakistan delegation at the United Nations in their efforts to promote peace and stability in the world.
Shaukat Fareed, a former Pakistani diplomat, reminded his compatriots of their responsibility to their homeland.
“Many of us live abroad, but no matter where we are, we have responsibility towards Pakistan and we are as big as our country, whether at home or overseas”, he said.
“The strength of our nation matters. Wr should never forget that,” Farid added.
(UNSRC)-Pakistan Club President Irfan Soomro thanked all those who joined in celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day.
He highlighted the contribution of the Pakistani national working in the UN system, and said that they were committed to upholding the values of the organization.
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