New York, Oct 22: Pakistan narrowly won a hotly-contested seat to the UN Security Council on Friday joining India as a two-year non-permanent member on the body.
India, which is already serving as a non-permanent member for the 2011-2012 term, is believed to have voted for Pakistan, the two sides having made common cause on many issues at the UN except for Kashmir.
Pakistan's term is for two years beginning January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013, overlapping with India for one year.
Pakistan just about scraped through, securing 129 out of 193 votes in the United Nations General Assembly, exactly the two-third majority required to win the seat. Its principal opponent in the Asia-Pacific region, Kyrgyzstan, won just 55. This would be the seventh time Pakistan would serve on the Security Council, and the fourth time its term would overlap with India.
India won its latest two-year term by securing a landslide 187 votes. Guatemala and Morocco were the other members who joined the 15-member council, five of whom are permanent members with veto powers. The other ten are non-permanent members on two year rotations.
There will be a second round of voting for two more seats, one in Africa between Togo and Mauritania and one in Eastern Europe between Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Hungary. Pakistan avoided a second round by just about managing to get the required 2/3rd majority in the first round itself.
Pakistan's UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon welcomed his country's election to the council and said he expected to work well with India's ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, next year.
The two are personal friends and have been known to hang out together occasionally, once going to a US Open doubles match featuring the Indo-Pak combination of Aisam Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna.
"You have seen that the usual tendencies have not erupted between us and that is a good factor," Haroon said. "Perhaps both of us have been beneficial in starting dialogue between both the countries."
The last time India and Pakistan served together on the council was in 1977. With India and Pakistan on the council next year, seven of the 15 members will be nuclear powers.