Written By: Maj Samad Ashfaq
(South Kiere, DRC Congo)
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire is the 2nd largest country in Africa spread over 2.3 million square kilometers i.e., almost three times the size of Pakistan. United Nations initially stepped into the country in July 1960 against external aggression when 20,000 military personnel were deployed under the title of “United Nations Mission Operation in Congo (MONUC)”, which ended in June 1964. MONUC was renamed as United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) on July 1, 2010. South Kivu Brigade (SKB) as part of Force Component of MONUSCO, comprises Pakistan Army Units (4 Infantry Units and 1 Aviation Unit) as a dominant sub-component along with allied contingents from China, Uruguay and Egypt.
Working hand in glove, this international blend of exuberant professional outfits is committed to the sacred cause of restoring peace in South Kivu province of DRC. Joined together under the blue flag of the United Nations, these sub-units make parallel efforts to promote their respective vibrant culture and lively traditions. One such joyous occasion was when the Chinese contingent celebrated their “Spring Festival” for the Chinese New Year starting January 28, 2017 – gateway to the Year of Rooster. To express the spirit of friendship between the two neighbours since their inception, Pakistani contingent decided to celebrate the joys of Chinese brethren at their own abode, inviting them as the guests of honour.
Saturday, February 4, was chosen as the day for this pulsating gathering at Adikivu Camp. Clad in uniform, traditional Chinese outfits, Pakistani shalwar qameez and all the colours of spring, the guests were given a roaring welcome by the military band of the hosts, the glorious Al Momin Ba-Waqar of the Punjab Regiment. Besides Chinese contingent members, worthy guests included the top brass of Uruguay, Egypt and Chiefs of MONUSCO civil sections as well. Escort to the venue was provided by traditional Luddi party. Pakistani gesture of sharing the joy was reciprocated by Chinese counterparts with matching fervour. Each event kick-started with the announcement made first by a Pakistani officer, followed by an equally enthusiastic Chinese lady co-host attired in traditional Pakistani dress.
In fervour and excitement, the audience got overwhelmed by the ecstatic blend of Pakistani traditional dances, dynamic acts of Kung Fu, unarmed Combat skills of personnel ex-Special Services Group, dragon dance, Bian Lian (face mask changing) and much more. The hosts took the function to a more interactive level and the spectators became the players. Funny skits, musical chair, egg and spoon race and tug of war culminating at dhamaal by all, left everyone exhilarated. Deep rooted Pak-China friendship throbbed and displayed at its peak when the whole Chinese contingent stood up and chanted “Dil Dil Pakistan”. Spirit of friendship was displayed by presenting Pakistani traditional dressing items to the winning contestants by Commander SKB, Brigadier Ansar Zafar Kazmi and Mr. Charles Frisby, Head of Office MONUSCO, Bakavu.
Honourable guests were then taken to the spicy cruise of Pakistani cuisine that was fully relished by the guests. The entire celebrations sparkled with the glittering colours and essence of eternal Pak-China friendship. Gratified with the sense of affection, Chinese brethren were bidden farewell amongst cheers, embraces and revels; while the day casted long lasting imprints on the minds of all participants.
Long Live Pak-China Friendship!