April 02 , 2017
Pakistan welcomes CPEC’s endorsement by UNSC
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has welcomed the UN Security Council’s endorsement of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other projects under “One Belt, One Road” initiative calling it an evidence of global acceptance for country’s move towards regional peace and prosperity.
In an interview with The News at UN Secretariat, Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that world community acknowledges Pakistan’s key role in the region.
The UN Security Council has recently adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) by one year. The resolution mentioned and endorsed "One Belt, One Road" project that includes the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a mean to achieve regional connectivity and prosperity.
“If the Security Council endorses CPEC as factor for stability, obviously there is international endorsement for the project,” Dr Lodhi said adding that the resolution had acknowledged the critical importance of “One Belt, One Road” for peace and prosperity.
Dr Lodhi is a former journalist, author and seasoned diplomat who had served as Pakistan’s ambassador in key world capitals including Washington and London.
She said Pakistan remains among the world's top three troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations and by virtue of that commands the respect of the international community in the 193-member world body.
“The world community acknowledges Pakistan’s key role in the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Pakistan has contributed almost 150,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping missions since 1960 when it first deployed troops in the Congo wearing the signature blue helmets.
Dr Lodhi said Pakistan has enjoyed influence at the United Nations over the years having played an active and important role in all three pillars of the UN system: peace and security, human rights and development.
The country has served on the Security Council seven times as a non-permanent member which is something of a record as not many countries have had this distinction. This, she said, is a measure of the contribution the country has made to international peace and security.
“Getting elected to the Council needs the backing of other countries and Pakistan has repeatedly managed to get this support owing to its important role and contribution,” she said.
When asked about Indian efforts to isolate Pakistan globally, she said Pakistan cannot be isolated by any country.
“A few days ago I hosted a reception to mark Pakistan Day. Diplomats from over 100 countries joined us and the UN Secretary General also attended the event. That does not appear to me any kind of isolation,” she said, adding, "In fact it's the very opposite of that and gives the lie to the claims of those who say we are marginalised."
Dr Lodhi also mentioned the recently held 13th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) hosted by Islamabad, which was attended by heads of states or top representatives from 9 important regional countries. This too negates the propaganda about Pakistan's isolation.
Dr Lodhi humbly mentioned the contribution of other distinguished Pakistani diplomats and her predecessors in shaping the UN agenda. “Their stature and contribution has meant that I am a beneficiary of that legacy."
She said a key responsibility of Pakistan’s UN mission is to highlight the Kashmir issue and the humanitarian situation in the Indian held territory.
“As we speak, Held Kashmir is confronted with a very serious situation of grave human rights violations and the continued denial of self-determination to the Kashmiri people,” she said.
Dr Lodhi presented a dossier on human rights violation by Indian in Kashmir to the UN Secretary General and to the permanent five members of the Security Council.
“Also I was able to brief the president of the Security Council on the grave human rights violation in Indian occupied Kashmir and at our request he then informally briefed all the members of the council,” she said, for the first time in several decades.
She said the purpose of Pakistani efforts is to urge international community to support a peaceful resolution of Kashmir, one of the oldest disputes on the agenda of the United Nations.
Dr Lodhi will remain busy next a few weeks in inter-governmental negotiation on UN Security council reform.
She said Pakistan wants reforms in the UN Security council based on the principles of democracy.
Pakistan with a group of other countries called “Uniting for Consensus Countries” advocate democratic reform of the Security Council. “These reforms must reflect the realities of the 21st century. The council was configured after World War II and it reflected the victors of the war. It is time to change this as the world has changed very profoundly.”
She believes the principal dynamic of the world today is an egalitarian and democratic one.
“Who in the world will challenge the idea of democracy? If we accept that then the Security Council must be expanded by bringing in more elected members because if you expand the council by adding permanent members then you are reinforcing the non-elected part which is not democratic,” she said.
Dr Lodhi believes a democratic council will be more representative, accountable, effective and transparent.
She said Pakistan’s position is supported by a number of important countries including Italy, Columbia, Argentina, South Korea and China.
She said the reforms are equivalent to amendment to a country's constitution. It will involve amendment of the UN charter. “So we are actually looking at constitutional reform in that sense. Therefore it has to be based on consensus and it has to be politically accepted to everyone.
“We feel that adding elected members will give more countries a chance to serve on the council rather than the privilege being restricted to a few,” she said.