By Iftikhar Ali/ Shumaila Andleeb
Wearing Pakistan army’s uniform and the signature blue cap of the United Nations, Major Fozia Parveen is one among several other Pakistani female military and staff officers serving as the peacekeeping missions.
Social media is abuzz with the photograph of Major Fozia seen on patrol in Cyprus with a UN vehicle in the background. Worth a thousand words, the picture oozes a spirit of bravery, confidence and poise, not unknown to the Pakistani women.
“We are proud of our female (and male) peacekeepers who serve in UN missions. Major Fozia Parveen is serving in the UN Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), seen here on a patrol in the Buffer Zone. Picture thanks to the UN, [sic]” Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN said in a tweet.
Pakistan earlier crossed the target set by the UN from zero to 15 per cent deployment of female military and staff officers in the peacekeeping mission within just 18 months.
“We believe, increased participation of female peacekeepers, and encouraging more women to take up mediation roles helps in the stabilisation and reconstruction phases of conflicts,” Lodhi had said earlier while participating in a debate on ‘Women in Peacekeeping.’
Maleeha Lodhi herself is the first woman to hold the position of Pakistan’s representative to the UN. Previously, she has served as the country’s envoy to the Court of St James and twice as its ambassador to the United States (US).
Also, Pakistan has drawn praise from the UN peacekeeping chief who lauded the Pakistani troops for the “great dedication and professionalism” displayed in serving the world body’s peacekeeping missions around the globe that contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.