Pakistanis among world’s highest percentage of women UN peacekeepers — EU envoy

In this undated photo, a Pakistani woman of UN peacekeeping meets children in Africa.(Photo courtesy: Hilal magazine)
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Updated 31 May 2021

Pakistanis among world’s highest percentage of women UN peacekeepers — EU envoy

  • A team is serving in Congo as Pakistan’s first all-female group in a UN peacekeeping mission
  • Since 1960, over 200,000 Pakistani servicemen have served in 46 UN missions in 26 countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has some of the highest numbers of women blue helmets in the world, EU envoy to Pakistan said on Twitter on Sunday, a day after the ‘International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.’
Pakistan’s contributions to UN peacekeeping span over six decades.
“Did you know that Pakistan has one of the highest percentage of women Peacekeepers in the world ?” Androulla Kaminara, ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement:
“As one of the top troop contributing countries, Pakistan deeply values the vital role played by ‘blue helmets’ in maintaining security and stability in many conflict-ridden areas around the world.”
It also said Pakistan had led the way in deputing female peacekeepers in “record time.”
“A team of our officers is presently serving as the first all-female group from Pakistan in a UN peacekeeping mission, deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the FO said.
These officers provide a range of resources to the region including through work as psychologists, stress counsellors, vocational training officers, gender advisers, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers and logistics officers.
“Since 1960, over 200,000 of our servicemen have served with honor and valour in 46 UN missions in 26 countries in almost all continents of the world,” the statement read.
Pakistan brings a “unique perspective to peacekeeping,” the FO said, not only as a leading troop contributing country, but also as host to one of the oldest peacekeeping missions in the world.
According to foreign ministry data, 157 of Pakistan’s peacekeepers have been martyred in the line of duty for the cause of international peace and security.


Islamabad dismisses reports of financial difficulties faced by Pakistani missions 

Updated 6 sec ago

Islamabad dismisses reports of financial difficulties faced by Pakistani missions 

  • Pakistani foreign office describes these reports as ‘entirely baseless, irresponsible and malafide’ 
  • Says all Pakistani missions continue to be provided requisite resources for effective functioning 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday rejected reports of financial difficulties faced by its foreign missions, the Pakistani foreign office said. 

The statement came a day after English-language newspaper The News reported that the Pakistani embassy in Washington had run out of funds to pay salaries for at least four months to some of its employees. 

At least five of the Pakistani embassy’s locally recruited contractual employees faced delays and non-payment of their monthly wages from August 2021, the paper reported citing unnamed sources. 

One staffer out of the five affected, who had been working for the past ten years with the embassy, resigned in September owing to delays and non-payment, according to the report. It noted these unpaid local staffers were hired by the embassy on an annual contractual basis and worked for the mission on bare-minimum salaries, ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 a month. 

“This deliberate disinformation attempt is outrightly rejected. All Pakistan missions continue to be provided the requisite resources for effective functioning in accordance with relevant financial and budgetary rules and regulations,” a spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement. 

The spokesperson described these social media posts and related news reports as “entirely baseless, irresponsible and malafide.” 


Saudi agency continues winter aid distribution in Pakistan’s Balochistan province 

Updated 4 min 37 sec ago

Saudi agency continues winter aid distribution in Pakistan’s Balochistan province 

  • KSRelief launched its winter aid project last month to help over 200,000 Pakistanis 
  • Pakistan is the fifth largest recipient of assistance from the Saudi aid agency 

ISLAMABAD: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has distributed 1,700 winter bags in Ziarat district of Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province that would help 11,900 needy people, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday. 

These winter kits include quilts and winter gear for men, women and children. The assistance is part of the center’s 2021 winter aid project to help needy people in Pakistan. 

KSRelief launched its winter aid project last month to help over 200,000 people in Pakistan. 

In total, 29,000 winter kits will be distributed this year among communities living in impoverished districts of Balochistan, in collaboration with Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Balochistan government. 

The Saudi-based international aid agency provides humanitarian and development support to millions of beneficiaries in more than 49 countries. 

Pakistan is the fifth largest recipient of assistance from KSRelief and has received more than $120 million in aid since 2005. 


Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

Updated 05 December 2021

Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

  • He withdrew after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup 
  • West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec 13 to 22 

ST JOHN’S, Antigua: West Indies captain Kieron Pollard withdrew Sunday from the upcoming white-ball tour of Pakistan after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup. 
Pollard was replaced in the ODI squad by Devon Thomas and in the T20 squad by all-rounder Rovman Powell.

Pollard will be reassessed in a few weeks ahead of the upcoming home tours by Ireland and England in January 2022, Cricket West Indies said.

The West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec. 13-22. 


Pakistan announces award for man who tried shielding Sri Lankan victim of Sialkot lynching 

Updated 05 December 2021

Pakistan announces award for man who tried shielding Sri Lankan victim of Sialkot lynching 

  • Priyantha Kumara was publicly attacked and killed by a Muslim mob on Friday over blasphemy allegations 
  • Police in Pakistan’s Punjab have arrested six more suspects, taking the number of detainees to 124 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced a gallantry award for the man, who tried shielding Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara lynched in Punjab’s Sialkot city earlier this week, against a mob of vigilantes. 

Kumara worked at a factory in the northeastern Pakistani city of Sialkot and was publicly attacked and killed by a Muslim mob on Friday over allegations he had committed blasphemy. 

Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan, and carries the death penalty. International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. 

In videos circulating on social media, one of Kumara’s colleagues, Malik Adnan, was seen confronting a group of vigilantes and making desperate attempts to protect the Sri Lankan national. He, however, could not succeed in his attempts. 

“On behalf of the nation, I want to salute moral courage and bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter and save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl[uding] endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim,” PM Khan said in a Twitter post. 

“We will award him Tamgha-i-Shujaat [Medal of Bravery].” 

The announcement coincided with the arrest of six more suspects in the lynching case. 

“Punjab police have identified and arrested six more main suspects in the last 12 hours with the help of CCTV footage and mobile calls data. The suspects were hiding at the houses of their friends and relatives,” Punjab police said on Twitter. 

Of the total 124 detainees, it said, 19 suspects had a central role in the lynching according to the investigation so far. 

The remains of the deceased Sri Lankan national would be flown to Sri Lanka on Monday at the “state cost,” the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said. 

“The Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad has requested an investigation report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan regarding the death of Diyawadanage Don. Nandasiri Priyantha Kumara,” it said in a statement. 

“The Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, is also in discussions with the Pakistan authorities and the employer of the deceased regarding payment of compensation.” 

On Saturday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed grief over the lynching of Kumara in Pakistan. He said he was “shocked to see the brutal and fatal attack” on Kumara by “extremist mobs in Pakistan”. “My heart goes out to his wife and family,” Rajapaksa said in a tweet. 

PM Khan said on Saturday night said he had spoken to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and assured him that justice would be done in Kumara’s lynching case. 


Antares Experience ends journey as ‘largest ever’ vessel dismantled at Pakistani shipbreaking yard 

Updated 05 December 2021

Antares Experience ends journey as ‘largest ever’ vessel dismantled at Pakistani shipbreaking yard 

  • The 14-floor cruise ship has 1411 rooms, shopping areas, gaming zones and conference halls 
  • Authorities turned down the owner’s idea to use it for travel or turn it into a hotel 

KARACHI: Antares Experience, a former Costa Cruises liner is set to end its nearly three-decade-long journey in Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yard, a senior Pakistani official and the shipbreaker said on Sunday. 

Built for Italy’s biggest tour operator Costa Cruises in the early 1990s, the cruise liner was bought by a Pakistani shipbreaker, New Choice Enterprises (NCE), to turn it into scrap at the shipbreaking yard in Gadani, Balochistan, some 50 kilometers away from Karachi. 

“The cruise ship, which is bought by a Gadani buyer, has come for beaching,” Mahmood Moulvi, the Pakistani prime minister’s special assistant on maritime affairs, told Arab News. 

“It will be beached as per the conditions of the contract,” Moulvi said, ruling out the possibility of using the cruise for a ferry services in the country. 

The ship, weighing 56,800 gross tons, has 14 floors, 1,411 rooms, a seven-star hotel, shopping areas, gaming zones and three conference halls. 

It is going to be scrapped due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the shipping sector. 

“The condition of shipping lines in Europe is not good and they are doing away with ships,” Moulvi said. “The ship was sold at $610 per LDT (Light Displacement Tonnage).” 

Ahmedullah Khan, the buyer of the vessel and owner of NCE, had requested the government to allow turning the ship into a hotel by docking it off the Karachi coast or use it for travel and tourism, saying that it was in “workable condition” for the next 10-15 years. 

But the authorities turned down the idea due to the size of the vessel. 

“It will take at least 10 months to dismantle the whole ship and more than 500 workers will be directly involved in the process,” Khan told Arab News, adding is the “largest cruise ever” to arrive for scrapping in Pakistan. 

The dismantling of the cruise liner is expected to start next week. 

Gadani is the world’s third largest shipbreaking yard after the Alang-Sosiya yard in India and the Chittagong yard in Bangladesh.