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Pakistan on Friday welcomed the United Nations' decision restoring Islamabad as a family station for its international staff, saying the determination and classification is a rightful acknowledgement of the turnaround in the security environment in Pakistan. "Pakistan welcomes the United Nations' decision to restore the status of Islamabad as family station for its international staff, after a comprehensive review of the security situation," Foreign Office said in a statement, adding that such a determination and classification is a rightful acknowledgement of the turnaround in the security environment in Pakistan.
"We look forward to working closely with the United Nations system in Pakistan, facilitating the valuable work that the UN officials carry out throughout the country and extending a cordial welcome to their families," it added. Talking to media persons on Friday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also described the restoration of Islamabad's status as family station by the United Nations as 'big achievement' of Pakistan.
"This decision reflects confidence of international organisations in Pakistan," he said, adding that the UN decision will help build trust as well as increase investment in the country. He pointed out that after the 2008 bombing of a five-star hotel in Islamabad, there was apprehensions among various foreign missions and the offices under the UN about the security situation.
During the period, he said, the Foreign Office remained in close touch with the UN and urged the international body to review its decision as soon as the security situation improved as a result of the defeat of the terrorists. "After the comprehensive review of the security situation by the UN itself and agreeing to Pakistan's assessment of the situation, the world body finally announced through a notification that Islamabad's status was restored," he added.
Qureshi hoped that the UN's decision and Pakistan's liberalised visa policy would further contribute to economic activities in the country. "This is very good and positive news on which I would like to congratulate the Foreign Office and the entire nation," Qureshi added. Earlier on Thursday, United Nations office of the International Civil Service Commission, through a letter addressed to Pakistan's permanent representative at United Nations in New York, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, announced that it has restored Islamabad's status as family station for its international staff based on improvement of security situation.
"As per our discussions, this is to inform you that I, under the delegated authority of the Commission, discontinued the non-family status of the duty station Islamabad, Pakistan, effective from June 14, 2019," stated the letter. It further stated: "My decision was based on the recommendation by the Under Secretary General of the United Nations Department for Safety and Security who evaluated the security situation in Islamabad and recommended lifting of family restrictions."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019