Written By: Capt Faisal Siddique
The United Nations African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is the first joint Peacekeeping Mission in UN History and so far the largest peacekeeping mission. UNAMID has been operating under UN Security Council Resolution since 2007 under UN Security Council Resolution to bring peace in Darfur. The mandate of the mission includes protection of unarmed civilians, mediation of peace talks, promotion of rule of law and human rights and assistance in humanitarian activities. Major troop contributing countries include Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania. Pakistani contingent in the mission includes two infantry battalions, one engineer company, one field hospital and one formed police unit.
In May 2016, a Pakistani battalion (Pak Batt 3) was relocated in Kutum Sub-Sector and in August 2016, Pak Batt 5 relieved Pak Batt 3. Kutum, known as birthplace of the war in Darfur, has remained one of the most volatile areas of Darfur. The area was totally uncontrolled with no functioning government machinery. Even UNAMID troops were restricted to the camp site and often ambushed and raided along the main supply route. Under these circumstances, Pakistani Contingent was trusted by the UNAMID leadership for bringing peace in the area. Pak Batt 5 under Contingent Headquarters undertook the challenging task achieving praiseworthy and exemplary results which have been appreciated at the highest level within UNAMID and among the local government authorities and communities. The professional approach of Pak Batt 5 has brought peace in the area. Pakistani Contingent also undertook significant WHAM activities projecting soft image of Pakistan amongst the local communities under an international environment. Major activities include medical camps, renovation of mosques and schools, construction of youth centers for boys and girls, construction of women vocational training center and basic girls school, initiation of inter-community harmony dialogues and promotion of sports. The performance of Pakistani Contingent can be judged from the fact that Kutum has not seen any communal or ethnic conflict for the last one year. Government departments are now fully functional in Kutum Sub-Sector.
To commemorate successful completion of Pak Batt 5’s tenure in UNAMID, medal wearing ceremony was held at Kutum on August 7, 2017. Elegantly turned out Pakistani Contingent Pak Batt-5 (26FF Khaara Shagaaf Battalion) presented a remarkable display of military parade.
The Acting Force Commander Major General Fida Hussain Malik, Contingent Commander Brig Syed Mazhar Hussain and Mission Chief of Staff Karen Tchalian attended the medal wearing ceremony along with officials of Sudan government and large number of local community representatives attended the parade. The Force Commander, Contingent Commander, Sudan Military Commander and Mission Chief of Staff decorated officers, JCOs, NCOs and soldiers of the unit with UNAMID medals. Children and women of local community also took part in the ceremony displaying local culture and traditional exhibition. At the end of the parade, contributions for WHAM activities were made by the Pakistani Contingent which was highly appreciated by the UNAMID authorities and local community elders.
Pakistan Army is respected for its professionalism and performance within the UN Peacekeeping Operations. Pakistani Contingent in Darfur is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the name and respect of Pakistan remains in high esteem within the international community as well as amongst the local populace of Sudan.
Pakistan Army Zindabad!