Since 1960, Pakistan has sent more than 160,000 troops to 42 missions. As of April, 2017, troops are deployed in the worst conflicts in Africa including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan. We have helped build roads, built schools, recovered illegal arms and protected humanitarian efforts. It is time Pakistan is given credit for being a state that has been selfless in its quest for peace, even when it is mired in terrorism and an aggressive neighbour always ready to declare war.

On Friday, troop and police contributing countries to the United Nations peacekeeping operations Friday launched an informal group under the leadership of Pakistan and Morocco to discuss issues affecting their personnel. The group, co-chaired by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi and her Moroccan counterpart Omar Hilale, met on the sidelines of Chiefs of Defence Conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

The UN Peacekeeping missions have been the connective tissue for forming friendly ties with other countries. The Peacekeeping missions presented themselves as a productive platform for getting heard at the UN. Had the UN been a forum of real force in international relations, Pakistan would have had its due appreciation and more clout to draw attention to the disaster that is Indian control of Kashmir and the constant threat India poses to millions of innocent Pakistani lives.

Pakistan is the third largest troop contributor to the UN, though the biggest financial contribution is the by US. However, support from the US is falling, with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley cheering about cuts to the UN’s peacekeeping of $600 million from the annual budget of more than $7.5 billion. How troops can be funded and supported over time will be a problem if other countries follow suit. While countries like Ethiopia, Pakistan and Bangladesh are contributing with soldiers, countries like the US cant even promise support, with Haley gleefully saying in June that this was just the beginning of the cuts to UN programmes.

Haley stressed that the UN needed to look at whether countries were simply sending their forces to missions “just to make money” because the United Nations pays for peacekeepers. With one fell stroke, the US Ambassador humiliated the soldiers that fight for peace, suggested that soldiers should not be paid, and exposed how weak the UN was to stop its own slow decline into a bloated bureaucratic agency. In this climate, it will be hard for Pakistan to speak for peace and to be heard, and its contributions will consistently be nullified by American nonchalance and Indian aggression.