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Friday May 29 2020

UN awards medal to fallen Pakistani soldier for peacekeeping services in Congo

A Pakistani solider has been posthumously awarded a medal by the United Nations for his peacekeeping services rendered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a statement by the military's media wing said.

Amir Aslam was to be conferred the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal, a posthumous award which is given by the UN to officers or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

According to Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, Aslam was a resident of Kotli in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and was serving in the United Nations' peacekeeping mission in the Congo.

He was awarded the medal by the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in a virtual ceremony held at the New York headquarters to mark Peacekeepers Day.

The UN has hailed Pakistani peacekeepers’ role in rescuing more than 2,000 people stranded due to heavy floods which hit the Uvira region of South Kivu in the Congo in April.

While sharing an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) video on rescue and relief efforts by the Pakistani peacekeepers in saving hundreds of lives in Congo, the UN spokesperson said that the country is among the top contributors in the UN peacekeeping operations around the world.

“Watch how Pakistani peacekeepers from @MONUSCO helped save hundreds of lives during the deadly floods in the #DRCongo,” read the tweet.

On April 26, the ISPR had said that the torrential floods erupted in the city of Uvira and its surrounding areas a week prior and continued for days damaging thousands of houses, affecting some 75,000 people.

According to military’s media wing, Pakistani Blue Helmets, which serve the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO), "immediately rushed to the affected areas for rescue and relief of local Congolese populace".

The ISPR said that thus far, 157 Pakistani peacekeepers have laid down their lives "for preservation of global peace, while serving humanity with honour, courage and dignity".

Pakistani women peacekeepers awarded UN medal

In February, Pakistan’s female peacekeepers, deployed with the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), were awarded a UN medal at a ceremony in Adikivu in South Kivu, one of the provinces of the central African country.

The team of 15 female officers, who serve at the ranks of Major and Captain, have been stationed in the war-torn country since June last year.

The officers are psychologists, stress counsellors, vocational training officers, gender advisors, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers and logistics officers, said a message received at UN Headquarters in New York.