Pakistan elected to UNSC; potential axis with China next year to protect terrorists?

Islamabad’s place in the Council will give it a grandiose soapbox to amplify its campaign on Kashmir, which it has been bringing up even on unrelated matters.

Arul Louis Jun 07, 2024
Photo: Arul Louis

Pakistan was elected to the UN Security Council on Thursday as a non-permanent member, allowing it to potentially act in concert with China on matters like terrorism, but the result was not a sign of its diplomatic heft as it was the consensus candidate of the Asia Pacific Group based mostly on routine subregional rotation.

Elected by 182 votes in the 193-member General Assembly, it will take over one of the two Asian seats to be vacated by Japan in January for a two-year term.

There were five abstentions in the secret ballot and three countries stayed away.

With the endorsement of the Asia Pacific group Pakistan did not face any opposition. This will be the eighth time Islamabad will be on the Council.  

After the election, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Munir Akram avoided the media at the entrance to the General Assembly not participating in the traditional news conferences by newly elected countries where representatives of the other four nations spoke. 

With Japan retiring, there is a subtle change in the balance at the polarised Council where a triumvirate of China, Russia and Pakistan will emerge on many issues.

Islamabad’s place in the Council will give it a grandiose soapbox to amplify its campaign on Kashmir, which it has been bringing up even on unrelated matters.

It will also not have to rely solely on China to protect terrorists like Sajid Mir, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, who are backed by it, at the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee which acts by consensus.

The candidates for election to the other four seats allocated regionally had the consensus backing of their groups and won without opposition.

Denmark and Greece were elected from the Western Europe and Others group, Panama from the Latin American and Caribbean group, and Somalia from the Africa group.

Five of the ten non-permanent seats on the 15-member Council come up for election every year and when the candidates endorsed by their group are not challenged the elections are only a formality.

Islamic nations will have two representatives, Pakistan and Somalia, on the Council next year while there is only one currently.

When Algeria retires at the end of this year, there will be no Arab state on the Council which takes up Middle Eastern issues, notably Gaza and Israel on which it is sharply divided.

Pakistan had announced its intent to seek its eighth term on the Council when India announced its candidacy for the 2020 election for the 2021-22 term.

After heavy canvassing, Islamabad got the backing of about 20 countries as diverse as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Singapore in the Asia group.

A group meeting in June last endorsed Islamabad’s candidature.

The Asia Pacific group’s 53 members are very diverse with members stretching from tiny Nauru in the Pacific to Cyprus towards the edge of Europe, with Central Asia, the Gulf and Lebanon in between.

India has been on the Council eight times, most recently during 2021-2022. Nepal and Bangladesh have served twice on the Council, while Sri Lanka was elected only once in 1960. Maldives and Bhutan haven’t been on the Council.

Post a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.