Saving Lives Under Fire: Pakistani Peacekeepers Honoured On International Day Of UN Peacekeepers

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ISLAMABAD: As the world celebrates International Day of UN Peacekeepers today, the United Nations in Pakistan has released a poignant video featuring the heroic actions of Major Furqan Niazi, a peacekeeper from Pakistan, who saved lives under fire while tragically losing a colleague.

In January, an ambush on a UN vehicle transporting injured civilians to the hospital in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan resulted in the deaths of Pakistani peacekeeper Sepoy Muhammad Tariq and several community members. The lives of the survivors were saved due to the courage and bravery of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeepers, including Major Furqan, who was shot and injured in the attack.

“I spent nearly two months in treatment. The biggest motivating factor for me was my family, how I was going to see my daughter, wife, and mother, all of my family members,” Major Furqan told the UN as he recovered at home in Islamabad. He is expected to return to the mission next month. “I am really excited. I am going to the place where all of this happened. I will see that place after the storm where so many people lost their lives, I got injured, and my fellow peacekeeper lost his life. The biggest driving factor for me is to complete the mission with the people who always have my back.”

Each year on May 29, the world observes International Day of UN Peacekeepers, paying tribute to those who have served to protect peace in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable places on earth.

“Peacekeepers from Pakistan are part of a long tradition of women and men who embody humanity’s highest ideal: achieving peace,” said Mohamed Yahya, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan. “At great personal risk, they protect the most vulnerable communities affected by conflict. Today we pay tribute to all of them, including Major Furqan Niazi, Sepoy Muhammad Tariq, and all their comrades who were injured or made the ultimate sacrifice to protect peace and human life.”

Since 1960, over 200,000 Pakistani service women and men have served in 46 UN missions, with at least 160 making the ultimate sacrifice. Pakistan is currently the fifth-largest contributing country to UN peacekeeping, with about 4,300 military and police personnel deployed in seven locations around the world.

 

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