UN peacekeeping missions involving Pakistan

UN peacekeeping missions involving Pakistan covers a long and cherished history of Pakistani involvement with the United Nations. Pakistan joined the United Nations on "30th September, 1947". Since 1960, Pakistan has been actively involved in most of the UN Peacekeeping missions and today stands at the top with 10,175 troops and observers serving in current missions. Some of the major contributions were in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Congo and Liberia.

"Peacekeeping", as defined by the United Nations, is a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. UN peacekeepers—soldiers and military officers, civilian police officers and civilian personnel from many countries—monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. All operations must include the resolution of conflicts through the use of force to be considered valid under the charter of the United Nations.


Completed missions

Congo (August 1960 to May 1964)

"Contribution": 400 Troops, Ordnance, Transport units and Staff Personnel
"Casualties": None.

Operation of the United Nations in Congo was a United Nations peacekeeping force in Congo that was established after United Nations Security Council Resolution 143 of July 14, 1960. It was active during the Congo Crisis. During the operation Pakistan provided logistic support during movement of troops to and from Congo and inland movement to the United Nation troops. Pakistan Army Supply Corps (ASC) organized the whole operation in a meticulous manner. It continued uninterrupted from 1960 to 1964 with four Independent Army Supply Corps companies, each consisting of about 100 personnel. The movement control entailed move through sea, air, rail, river and road transport. A systematic organization was created to ensure foolproof administrative arrangements for transportation of troops, weapons, equipment, stores and rations throughout Congo in unfriendly environments. Pakistani troops thus performed the assigned task with professional skill and devotion which earned them applause across the world.

West New Guinea (October 1962 - April 1963)

"Contribution": 1500 Troops
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Security Force in New Guinea, West Irian (UNSF), after the agreement between comity of nations that Holland will hand over control of West Irian to the United Nation by 1 October 1962, prior to its take over by Indonesia for subsequent plebiscite. It was a matter of great honour that Pakistan was asked to undertake the exclusive responsibility of establishing United Nation Temporary Executive Authority in maintaining law and order in this part of the world, until it was handed over to Indonesia in the following year.

In the circumstances, when the world was focusing its eyes on the "United Nations Security Force", the Pakistani composite force comprising 14 Punjab Regiment, two companies of 18 Punjab Regiment and supporting elements, disembarked on the coast of Sorong after completing 6000 miles sea voyage on 8 October 1962. The responsibility of this contingent stretched over hundreds of miles. In order to accomplish the assigned mission the companies were deployed at Merauke, Fak Fak, Sorong and Kaimana.

The Battalion Headquarters were positioned at Biak. Pakistani troops effectively prevented skirmishes between Papuans and Indonesian troops. On one such occasion Pakistani troops rushed swiftly to Kaimana area on 14 January 1963, to avoid a bloody conflict and brought the situation under control. In another incident, Pakistani troops (a company strength) were moved to Monokwari by air in response to a distress signal to restore law and order situation threatened by Papuan volunteer Corps. On reaching the spot, it revealed that 350 PVK troops were in a mutinous mood at the Arfak Camp. Pakistani peace keepers restored the situation very tactfully without spilling a single drop of blood. The Pakistani contingent ensured smooth withdrawal of Dutch troops without any ensuing battles with the Indonesian Army. It also helped Indonesian troops in taking over the control swiftly in a conducive atmosphere.

The performance of Pakistani troops was admired by President Soekarno who said, "It was because of Pakistani troops that Indonesia and Pakistan came so close together, they were Pakistan’s best ambassadors." In a rare acknowledgment of good job done the Chinese Premier Chou-En-Lai remarked, "The only example in United Nation’s history, when a United Nation military force had gone in, performed its role honestly and came out, was Pakistan’s military contingent to Indonesia."

Yemen (January 1963 to September 1964)

"Contribution": 7 military observers.
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM). UNYOM was established on 11 June 1963 by Security Council resolution 179 (1963), to observe and certify the implementation of the disengagement Yemen Civil War In 1972, the governments of the PDRY and the YAR declared that they approved a future union. Little progress was made toward unification, and relations were often strained. In 1979, simmering tensions led to fighting, which was only resolved after Arab League mediation. The goal of unity was reaffirmed by the northern and southern heads of state during a summit meeting in Kuwait in March 1979. that same year the PDRY began sponsoring an insurgency against the YAR.

Namibia (April 1989 to March 1990)

"Contribution": 20 military observers.
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Transition Assistance Group in Namibia. The United Nations operation in Namibia marked the culmination of 70 years of pressure by the organized international community - through the League of Nations - and then the United Nations to enable the people of the Territory to live in peace, freedom and independence. Its climax came shortly after midnight on 21 March 1990, when the South African flag was lowered, the Namibian flag was raised, after the Namibian War of Independence and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, administered the oath of office to Mr. Sam Nujoma as President of the newly independent State.

Kuwait (December 1991 to October 1993)

"Contribution": 1136 total (troops and civilians).
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), was established on April 9, 1991 following the Gulf War by Security Council resolution 689 (1991) and fully deployed by early May. In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war Kuwait found itself confronted with colossal post-war problems. They included the reclamation of the entire land of Kuwait which had been turned into a battlefield by Iraq and the Allied Forces. Almost the whole territory was infested with lethal mines, huge stockpiles of ammunition and explosives and vast dugouts, which made the normal use of land impossible.

Pakistan, with its long tradition and considerable experience of assisting friendly nations in need of international help, offered its services for the reclamation of the devastated land. Finally the job was separately entrusted to Pakistan and six other countries.Pakistan was assigned the most difficult area in the north of Kuwait city. It was spread over 3000 square kilometers. Subsequently reclamation of Bubiyan Island also was entrusted to Pakistan.

The operation was carried out by a task force of Pakistan Army Engineers belonging to Frontier Works Organization. The professionalism and dedication displayed by this force elicited praise at international level. Not only did experts from different countries who visited Kuwait during the reclamation process appreciate the quality of work of the dedicated Pakistanis but professionals of other countries carrying out similar task in adjoining sectors also expressed admiration for the high standards of thoroughness and safety that they maintained.

Haiti (1993 to 1996)

"Contribution": 525 troops.
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), during the 1991 coup and military rule in Haiti on the request of the United Nations, Pakistan provided one Infantry battalion to form part of UNMIH. This battalion, "PAKBAT", arrived in Haiti in March 1995 and was deployed in Cape Haitien. At that time this area faced extremely volatile security situation and was also reputed to be the hotbed of political restlessness. In order to improve the security situation, "PAKBAT" started to discharge its responsibilities with an extensive patrolling pro gramme covering north, northeast and central regions. These patrols quickly became conduit for cordial relationship between the local population and peace keepers. It gave confidence to soldiers wearing blue berets, the Haitian National Police and other government functionaries which led to degree of stability and cooperation in the region. "PAKBAT" also played a significant role in holding free and fair elections in the northern reaches of Haiti which was appreciated by local as well as foreign media. For humanitarian assistance, food distribution among impoverished people of Haiti was one pro gramme. While much of the food was supplied by NGOs, "PAKBAT" troops even distributed their own quota of rations to hard pressed population, hence earned good-will. Scarcity of potable water being another serious problem, "PAKBAT" surveyed region’s potable water requirements, pinpointing locations where water points were urgently required and helped NGOs to repair and install-water pumps and bring water to remote areas. On one such occasion, "PAKBAT" learnt of an orphanage that had no potable water. A patrol quickly supplied bottled water and biscuits and installed. In recognition of "PAKBAT" efforts, a school was named, "Pakistan School".

Mr Enerique ter Horst, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative in Haiti while appreciating the services of Pakistani troops said, "since the arrival of Pakistan Battalion in Haiti the United Nations has realized that Pakistan Army is not only a formidable fighting force but peace keepers and peace builders in the best sense of the word. The way in which they have participated in the reconstruction and humanitarian assistance programmes beyond the call of duty to ensue stable environment, makes me confident that United Nations shall very soon attain the objectives of its mission in Haiti."

On the occasion of Pakistan Independence Day; the President of Haiti expressed gratitude of the Haitien people for services rendered by Pakistani troops for the restoration of democracy in Haiti. He said, "I express my deep appreciation and gratitude to the people of Pakistan, the Pakistan Army and its valiant soldiers for their manifestations filled with utmost sincerity, friendship and solidarity."

Cambodia (March 1992 to November 1993)

"Contribution": 1106 (troops, mine clearance and staff).
"Casualties": None.

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). When the United Nations requested the member countries to contribute troops to UNTAC, Pakistan, in keeping with its previous record, responded positively and 2nd Battalion of the Azad Kashmir Regiment was dispatched. This contingent formed part of a force of 15900 personnel from 32 countries. They were tasked to ensure the withdrawal of all foreign forces, supervision of cease-fire, disarmament and demobilization of Cambodia’s warring factions.

The Pakistani troops carried out peacekeeping operations in the most difficult and remote regions during the period May 92 - August 93. They overcame enormous logistic and operational problems and, displaying their characteristic courage and determination, defended themselves and those for whom they were responsible. Undaunted by the odds, they handled crisis after crisis and persuaded the warring factions to lay down their arms.

In the words of the Force Commander UNTAC, Lieutenant General J.M. Sanderson, "the Pakistani contingent showed professionalism, patience, determination and compassion, which indeed are the hallmark of an effective peace-keeping force". Elaborate arrangements for peace-keeping and holding of elections also contributed to the long-term welfare of Cambodia. It was felt that some short-term measures should also be adopted to cater for the immediate requirements of the people. This gave rise to what came to be known as the "Hearts and Minds" programme. The idea was to initiate small-scale civic protects to help the common man. At the same time they would allow a greater interaction with the civilians and build up their confidence in UNTAC. The Pakistani contingent readily took up the challenge. The beginning was made with organizing social events like Fun Fairs and Peace walks. As a large number of people wanted to learn English, the Pakistanis started regular English language classes in the local school. With the success of English classes the concept was expanded to include vocational training. Cadres were held for driving, basic masonry, carpenter-ship and tractor repair. This not only provided an opportunity to the people to learn but also improve their financial condition. The Pakistani contingent also undertook a programme of digging wells to provide clean drinking water and set up medical camps to treat local patients. Such measures created tremendous goodwill towards the peace-keepers who, with the passage of time, became symbols of friendship and hope for the war- weary Cambodians before they finally returned after accomplishing their mission.

Bosnia (March 1992 to February 1996)

"Contribution": 3000 troops.
"Casualties": 2.

United Nations Protection Forces in Bosnia (UNPROFOR), recognizing the commendable performance of the Pakistan Army Contingents as United Nations peacekeepers in Somalia and Cambodia, the United Nations requested the Government of Pakistan to contribute troops to the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A 3000 strong contingent consisting of two Battalion Groups and a National Support (NS) Headquarters left for Bosnia and Croatia in May 1994.

The two battalion groups "PAKBAT 1" and "PAKBAT 2" were deployed in the towns of Dares and Durdevik (near the city of Tuzla) in Bosnia while the National Support Headquarters remained based at Split, Croatia. They were tasked to stabilize the military situation with a view to encouraging return of normalcy, improving freedom of movement by maintaining existing routes, providing protection and supporting various United Nations agencies and NGOs engaged in their relief activities and coordinate humanitarian assistance. The PAKBATs performed their military duties with total commitment. Two officers, one junior commissioned officer and three non commissioned officers laid down their lives for the noble cause of bringing peace to a war ravaged territory. Their sacrifices were duly acknowledged by United Nations Force Commander and the local population.

Pakistani Peace Keepers who were the first to respond and assist over 50,000 refugees who came over after the Serbs had over-run the United Nations declared Safe Heavens of Srebrenica and Zepa in July 95. As it was an event which had not been foreseen by the Bosnian government and the United Nations authorities, it was the Pakistani Peace Keepers who bore the brunt of the crisis for 36 hours single handedly. Food, clothing, medical treatment and shelter to these war-ravaged people was provided by the PAKBAT from their own resources before help arrived. Even after the arrival of assistance, it were the Pakistani troops who managed and coordinated the relief activities. It was duly acknowledged in an impressive ceremony organized by Tuzia Red Cross to award certificates of merit to all those who contributed in relief operations.

omalia (March 1992 to February 1996)

"Contribution": 7200 troops.
"Casualties": 39.

United Nations Operation in Somalia I (UNISOM I), during the Somali Civil War, Pakistan was the first country to respond to the call of the United Nations. On 14th September 1992 five hundred Pakistani troops arrived in Mogadishu to launch the United Nation humanitarian campaign. Deployment of the security force was preceded by the arrival of an advance party of 50 United Nation observers, drawn from different countries, led by a Pakistani Brigadier.

At this time, attacks by armed gangs on incoming and docked ships as well as air strips were common. They also looted food supplies arriving under international humanitarian aid before they could reach delivery and distribution points. The Pakistani security personnel (ex 7 Frontier Force Regiment) were therefore assigned the task of securing the sea and airports, escorting food convoys and ensuring smooth distribution of relief supplies. The Pakistani Contingent was also instructed to recover unauthorized arms to further enhance the safety of peace-keeping and humanitarian efforts. Provision of medical aid, rehabilitation of people and reconstruction of infrastructure in the war—ravaged areas were also part of the programme. Pakistani troops secured the Mogadishu airport to make it safe for relief flights. They also cleared the nearby port of armed bandits who could pose a threat to the anchoring and off-loading of ships carrying grain and other edibles for the famished people.

Escorting of relief convoys and effective and tactful handling of the security situation soon won the Pakistanis the trust and respect of the local population. Their selfless services provided the Somalians both relief and hope after a dark period of terror and hunger. The goodwill that their humane behaviors generated was reflected in the "Pakistani-Somali Walal Walal" (Pakistanis and Somalis are brothers) slogans that one heard from an appreciative people. In order to enlarge the scope and scale of peace-keeping and humanitarian work over thirty-seven thousand troops, drawn from more than two dozen countries including US, Italy, France and Germany, were inducted by March 1993 and UNOSOM -1 converted into UNITAF (United Nations International Task Force). Pakistan, whose strength in later months rose to over 7000 troops, became the main operative contingent in the most war-ravaged part of Mogadishu.

The Pakistani troops were asked by the "United Nation Force Headquarters" to carry out an inspection of the weapon storage sites of Farah Aideed, to whom the date and time of inspection had been communicated in advance. Nobody at the United Nation Force Headquarters was able to foresee his reaction and his power to arouse the feelings of his followers against those who were carrying out the inspection. Even as their colleagues were engaged in distributing food at one of the feeding points, the Pakistani inspectors were ambushed by Aideeds followers. The ambushers were using children and women as human shields to prevent being fired back while the road-blocks they had set up made Pakistanis withdrawal difficult. Though taken by surprise and totally exposed, the courageous blue beret Pakistanis fought their way back taking full care that the children and women protecting the attackers remained unharmed. In the process twenty-three Pakistanis embraced "Shahadat" (Martyrdom) fifty-six sustained injuries while eleven were disabled. The Olympic Hotel Incident of 3rd October 1993 took place during one of these operations when 75 US Rangers got stranded and had to be rescued by a joint force of US and Pakistani troops. The grim battle lasted eight hours. The US Rangers suffered 17 dead and 77 injured while one was captured by Aideed forces. The wounded were admitted to the Pakistani hospital at Soccer Stadium. Had it not been for the courage, valour and steadfastness of the Pakistani soldiers, the rescue operation could not have succeeded and the trapped US soldiers might have perished.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Admiral Jonathan Howe and UNOSOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Cevik Bir expressed special appreciation for Pakistani troops’ determination and professionalism and thanked them for helping the US troops. Major General Thomas M. Montgomery, Deputy Commander of the United Nations Forces in Somalia in a television interview said, "Many of the soldiers are alive today because of the willingness and skill of the Pakistani soldiers who worked jointly in a rescue operation with Malaysian and American soldiers in most difficult and dangerous combat circumstances." He thanked the people and Pakistan Army for sending, "such splendid soldiers to Somalia who we feel proud to serve with. Pakistani soldiers have been completely dependable even in the most difficult circumstances. They have shouldered a huge and dangerous load for UNOSOM and the Somali people."

Rwanda (October 1993 – March 1996)

"Contribution": 7 military observers.
"Casualties": None.

United Nations assistance mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). was originally established to help implement the Arusha Peace Agreement signed by the Rwandese parties on 4 August 1993. UNAMIR's mandate and strength were adjusted on a number of occasions in the face of the tragic events of the genocide and the changing situation in the country. UNAMIR's mandate came to an end on 8 March 1996. The mission was headed by Mr. Shaharyar M. Khan from Pakistan as the special representative of the secretary-general and head of mission. After the closure of UNAMIR, Mr. Khan continued as the Secretary-General's Special Representative through April 1996.

Angola (February 1995 to June 1997)

"Contribution": 14 military observers.
"Casualties": None.

Established to assist the Government of Angola and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) in restoring peace and achieving national reconciliation on the basis of the Peace Accords for Angola, signed on 31 May 1991, the Lusaka Protocol signed on 20 November 1994, and relevant Security Council resolutions.

Eastern Slavonia (May 1996 – August 1997)

"Contribution": 1014 troops and staff.
"Casualties": None.

United Nations transitional authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES). After the Demilitarization Agreement signed between Croatian Government and the Serb representatives in November 1995 at Erdut, the United Nations was asked to take steps for the implementation of the agreement in war ravaged areas of Eastern Slavonia, Baranya and western Sirmium within a period of thirty days. A 1000-soldiers strong Pakistan Army Contingent joined UNTAES in the first week of May 96 and assumed its duties on 18 May 96 after relieving Belgian troops, the perilous task assigned to Pakistani Contingent of UNTAES was three dimensional. First it was to maintain high profile presence in the area of responsibility by carrying out extensive patrolling so as to deter bloody conflicts. Second, it was to man round the clock tactically important posts (including the ones vacated by Serb militia) with a view to prevent opposing elements from infiltrating in each others area. Most of these posts were located in thick forests and inaccessible swampy areas. The third task was to disarm a large number of Serb soldiers. It was the most tricky and precarious part of the duty. Finally it was to monitor the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their home of origin in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Pakistani Contingent also provided medical relief to the people. Since their arrival in Eastern Slavonia, Pakistan Army doctors have treated "over 5000 civilian patients including over 250 surgical cases in a make shift hospital". Pak Army doctors accompany patrolling teams and also provide door to door medical treatment to elderly people and children.

Pakistan Army Engineers also actively participated in demining operations in different areas including Drava bridge site. In this area Serbs had planted a large quantity of explosive and mines in haste without keeping proper laying record. It was a difficult mine clearance operation involving risk to life but Pakistani Sappers along with others cleared the area after prolonged and tense breath taking hours of hard labour. The Transitional Administrator, Mr Paul Klein and United Nations Force Commander, Major General Joseph Schoups "appreciated the services of Pakistan Army contingent and termed it a great service to humanity.’" The local population of the area has also developed a deep respect for the Pakistani peacekeepers.

ierra Leone (October 1999 to December 2005)

"Contribution": 5000 troops.
"Casualties": 6.

United Nations mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). During the mission the UN Security Council approved several requests of military assistance which drew to a final force of 17,500 military personnel, including the 260 military observers, the Council took this decision by its resolution 1346, and, by the same resolution, approved a revised concept of operations. "Pakistan being the largest contributor to this mission" sent a composite force of three Battalion Groups and one engineer battalion. Mr. Sajjad Akram from the Pakistan Army served as the Force Commander and Chief Military Observer from October 2003 to September 2005.

Current deployment

* The total amount of troops serving currently in peacekeeping missions is 10,173 (as of March, 2007).

See also

*Military of Pakistan
*List of countries where UN peacekeepers are currently deployed
*Timeline of UN peacekeeping missions


External links

:"See individual mission websites with their listing."
* [http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/index.asp UN peacekeeping website]
* [http://www.ispr.gov.pk/Multimedia/UN%20Peace%20Keeping/UnPeaceKeepingMulti.htm Inter Services Public Relations - Pakistan]
* [http://paki.in/wtf/2007/04/19/mercenaries-for-hire-pakistan-army/ Mercenaries for hire: Pakistan Army (Is Peacekeeping by 3rd world countries helping in anyway?)]

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