UNITED NATIONS: In a solemn ceremony held at the United Nations today, five Pakistani peacekeepers who had embraced shahadat for the cause of world peace during the last year, were posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, received the medals.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon especially thanked Pakistan for its contributions to UN peacekeeping. He conveyed this while speaking to Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi during the wreath laying ceremony.

Recipients of the prestigious award were Naib Subedar Saleem Akhtar, Lance Havaldar Ghulam Nabi, Sepoy Nazar Abbas, Lance Naik Ibrar Mahmood and Sepoy Fahad Iftikhar.

Speaking at ceremony, the Secretary General, said "their sacrifice, and the way that they lived their lives, makes us all proud and spurs us on to work harder to ensure that their lives were not lost in vain."

Pakistan, with more than 8,000 peacekeepers currently serving in UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world, remains one of the top two contributors. Pakistan has, over the past 55 years, contributed over 150,000 well-trained personnel, with 142 of its valiant troops making the ultimate sacrifice.

Pakistan has a significant stake in the success of UN peacekeeping and its participation is the most tangible contribution to maintenance of international peace and security.