The contribution of Pakistan in the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which marks 25 years this year, should be explored and documented, to promote goodwill on behalf of Pakistan and to draw lessons for further sharpening the idea of peacekeeping. These thoughts came in remembrance conversation in honour of the sacrifices of the peace-making soldiers in Somalia from 1993 to 1995. The ceremony, organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) paid rich tributes to the participation of Pakistan and Italy in the mission.
Participants recalled that much of the public imagination of the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia often evokes western documentaries and movies made on the US’s involvement in that mission, especially in a battle in capital Mogadishu.
While the US has documented its history, no matter how contested, other countries including Pakistan have done little to that end. This despite the critical involvement of Pakistan in that mission: For one, Pakistani soldiers went in the end to rescue the Americans in the battle.
The UN mission in Somalia continued in multiple phases, witnessing a range of incidents. PIPS director Muhammad Amir Rana recalled that it was “not an ordinary mission”. It was more than mere stationing of the troops, but involved direct combat, including Pakistani and Italians.
The sacrifices of Pakistanis are worth noting. In June 1993, Pakistani soldiers were attacked by rebels from all sides, in which, a veteran Colonel Waziri recalled, 23 Pakistanis laid down their lives, 52 were wounded, while 17 faced disabilities.