NEW YORK (APP) - Pakistan assumes presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of January 2013.Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will formally assume the Presidency on January 1 (today).Pakistan was elected last year as a non-permanent member of the 15-member body. This is for the first time that Pakistan is assuming its rotational office of the UN Security Council Presidency during the present two-year term.During Pakistan’s Presidency, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will attend and chair the sessions on peacekeeping and counter-terrorism, respectively.Briefings and consultations on several issues and situations, which are part of the regular agenda, will be held during the month of January according to their respective periodic cycles.Ambassador Masood Khan, as President of UN Security Council, will brief the media on January 3, 2013 at 1230 hours. The briefing shall be live telecast by the UN Webcast. “During its presidency, Pakistan will help Council members to forge consensus and bridge differences. Ours will be an effective presidency,” the Pakistan envoy said.The increasing nexus and inter-linkage between peacekeeping and peace building has also characterised the UN’s success in this field in recent years. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will preside over the session. The UN Secretary General will brief the Council. “The people of Pakistan are proud of their association with the UN. That’s why they have generously contributed to UN peacekegping”, Ambassador Masood Khan said. In the past 52 years, Pakistan has sent 144,711 troops to 23 countries and 41 missions. 132 Pakistani peacekeepers had laid down their lives in the cause of international peace during the missions.“The peacekeeping is our soft power. It captures deepest aspirations of the people of Pakistan for regional and global peace”, Ambassador Masood Khan said. As a leading and one of the most consistent contributors of personnel to UN peacekeeping operations over the decades, Pakistan has a vital interest in the continued effectiveness and success of UN peacekeeping. There are significant challenges and equally promising opportunities in the area of peacekeeping. Pakistan believes that the Council’s debate will be a contribution to our collective efforts to make peacekeeping work even better.A ministerial level open debate is also planned on January, 15 to deliberate on the comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.  The debate will provide an opportunity to the Council members and the general membership to have a holistic view of the continuing threats and challenges posed by international terrorism and the best ways of formulating and implementing coherent and comprehensive responses to this menace.Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will preside over this debate, in which ministerial level participation from other Council members is also expected.“We have put the difficult issue of counter terrorism on the agenda of the Council for a special debate. Terrorism can only be rooted out through a comprehensive approach of deterrence, dialogue and development”, Pakistan Permanent Representative said. A photographic exhibition will be organized to mark 52 years of Pakistan’s contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. Currently, Pakistan has over 9,000 troops and other personnel deployed in eight UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world. This demonstrates its commitment to global peace and security. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will inaugurate the exhibition.The Council will also have the quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question on January 23. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry shall brief the Council. Another important issue to be considered during Pakistan’s Presidency is Rule of Law.Pakistan has proposed to convene a formal Wrap-up Session of the Council on 31 January, which will allow the general membership to provide their views on the activities of the Council during the month.Over the decades, as a non-permanent member, Pakistan has made important contribution to the work of the Security Council.Earlier Pakistan had been elected six times to the Security Council: 1952-53, 1968-69, 1976-77, 1983-84, 1993-94 and 2003-04.  The current term is Pakistan’s seventh term. This shows UN member states’ continued confidence in Pakistan constructive work in the Council.