The United Nations on Friday honoured 119 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from 38 countries, including a Pakistani soldier, who lost their lives in 2018 and early 2019 while serving in UN peacekeeping operations in hotspots around the world.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presided over the special ceremony during which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace.
The event was held at the UN Headquarters in New York marking the annual International Day of Peacekeepers.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi accepted the award on behalf of the family of Naik Muhammad Naeem Raza who embraced martyrdom while serving with the UN Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Speaking to APP, Lodhi said she was “humbled and honoured” to receive the award on behalf of Shaheed Raza.
I accepted this posthumous award for our shaheed Naik Muhammad Naeem Raza at the Medal Award ceremony where SG@antonioguterres is honouring UN Peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Naik Naeem Raza embraced shahadat in Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) pic.twitter.com/UACG0qlo5l
— Maleeha Lodhi (@LodhiMaleeha) May 24, 2019
“This medal to our hero Naik Muhammad Naeem Raza is recognition by the UN Secretary-General of the sacrifice, dedication and professionalism of Pakistan’s peacekeepers,” Lodhi said.
“Pakistani peacekeepers continue to serve UN peacekeeping missions with distinction and fly the flag of Pakistan high,” she said. “Their sacrifices are a testimony to Pakistan’s commitment to upholding international peace and security.”
Pakistan is currently the sixth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.
Currently, Pakistan contributes more than 5,200 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
Earlier, the UN chief laid a floral wreath to honour all UN peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace since 1948.