NEW YORK  - Pakistan formally announced its candidature for a seat on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a main United Nations organ, for the year 2015-2017, at a large gathering of diplomats and UN officials here.

“If elected, Pakistan’s role will not be cosmetic, but substantive,” Pakistan UN Ambassador Masood Khan pledged before his distinguished guests that included New Zealand’s former Prime Minister James Bolger.

Pakistan is contesting an Asian seat, which is so far unchallenged. A two-third majority in the 193-member Assembly is required for election, and voting will take place next month.

With its third consecutive term expiring on Dec 2013, Pakistan is seeking election after a gap of one year.

First elected in 1954, Pakistan served the ECOSOC in 1965-1967, 1969-1971, 1974-1977, 1979-1984, 1986-1988,1990-1992, 1994-1995, 1998-2003, 2005-2007, 2008-10 and 2010-13.

Of the ECOSCO’s 54 members, 18 retire each year. Seats have been distributed on geographical basis with 14 allocated to Africa, 11 to Asia, six to East Europe, 10 Latin America and 13 to Western Europe and other states.

The ECOSOC, the UN’s economic arm, coordinates economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialised agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system.

ECOSOC is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In his brief remarks, Masood Khan said Pakistan had actively participated in reforming the Council and would continue its efforts to make this body more effective.

He sought the support of member states for its candidacy, pledging to promote the purposes and objectives of ECOSOC.

PTI spent public funds on 'AzadI March': Our staff reporter from Peshawar adds: Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Parliamentary Leader in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Sikandar Hayat Sherpao on Friday urged the federal government to take steps for addressing the growing sense of deprivation among the Pakhtuns.

Addressing a well-attended public meeting in Takhtabad Village at the outskirts of the provincial capital, he said that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government spent public funds on the so-called Azadi March in Islamabad. "The KP government should have addressed the problems that the people face instead of indulging in non-issues," he said. He said that a few thousand people paralysed the federal capital for over two weeks owing to which foreign dignitaries had to postpone their visits to Islamabad. "The silver lining is that the political uncertainty precipitated by the sit-ins united the leadership of the political parities," he remarked.         

Sikandar Sherpao said his parties rallied behind the federal government to strengthen democracy and protect the parliament. He said that it is very unfortunate the PTI leadership is staging protests against the alleged rigging in the May 2013 elections at a time when around one million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from North Waziristan were staying at camps. "It is very unfortunate that the IDPs are facing a host of problems but all the attention is being paid to the protest," he said.

The QWP leader said the battle for winning support in Punjab was being fought at the expense of Pakhtuns. "The Pakhtuns voted PTI to power with the hope that those chanting the slogan of change would address their problems," he maintained. He said the Pakhtuns were now feeling that they were deceived by the PTI leadership, as they could not honour their pledges with the masses during electioneering.

PkSF to hold elections for posts of provincial cabinet : The Provincial Executive Council of Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF) has announced to hold elections for the offices of the provincial cabinet on Tuesday.

In this connection, a meeting of the PkSF provincial executive council was held at the Bacha Khan Markaz, in which code of conduct and principles for elections were briefly discussed. The decisions taken in the meeting were hailed by workers largely and expressed their satisfaction. It was decided to hold elections for the provincial cabinet of PkSF on September 9 at Bacha Khan Markaz.

In the second phase, on September 3 and 4, the interested students submitted their applications for various offices of the provincial cabinet with provincial chairman. On the occasion, the provincial organising committee General Secretary Wasim Baghi and Jamil Afridi were present. Provincial Chairman Imtiaz Wazir said that elections process would be quite transparent.