Wajid Ali Syed reports for the Friday Times, on Pakistan’s decision to halt contributions of police personnel to the UN peacekeepers.
Reasons for this move aren’t particularly clear. There is some talk of the need to keep police officers at home given the domestic security situation, but the numbers don’t fit this theory. Claims of a rift between the District Management Group and the Police department seem more likely, and also more tragic.
The troubling thing for me however, is the resultant glorification of the sort of patriotism that looks down on interacting with the rest of the world. There are few areas in the world where Pakistan’s contribution adds to a global well-being. Any effort from any state that contributes to a global well-being, and is not only motivated by self-sustaining principles, must be praised. But the victimization of the Pakistani state and people by the world, as prominently discussed in our political narrative, makes it difficult to create any space to praise positive global interaction.
As a result we lose on the following:
From 1992 to 2013, Pakistani police deployment increased from 35 to 766 annually. The UN peacekeepers returning to Pakistan were replicating the best practices of peacekeeping at home. They continue to identify themselves as UN peacekeepers while serving in the police by displaying their UN police medals and insignia on their uniforms. During their time as peacekeepers, the blue helmets operate within a system in which respect for human rights is seen as the cornerstone of police work, the report says, and they undergo human rights training for their missions. On returning home, local communities tend to respect former peacekeepers for their perceived integrity in an environment where human rights violations in regular police work are commonplace. Former peacekeepers perceive themselves as politically neutral and as agents of the rule of law.
From the information available I think there is a strong argument to be made that contributing to the UN peacekeepers makes Pakistan more secure. And I can speak from personal experience that there is little that teaches a person more than to be in an alien environment.
I hope this becomes a more important issue of discussion.