Serving the Peace: Pakistan Army’s Contribution for Peace in Darfur

Published in Hilal English

Maj Umar Ismail Sajid Garewal, Lt Col Shaukat Naeem Khan & Lt Col Muhammad Farid


srvingthepeace.jpgPakistan’s journey with UN peacekeeping began in July 1960 when first Pakistani contingent was deployed in Congo. Since then, Pakistan has contributed more than 160,000 troops in 41 UN missions in 23 different countries. 144 Pakistani peacekeepers including 23 officers have sacrificed their lives while performing UN peacekeeping duties around the globe. At present, Pakistan is the 4th Largest Troops Contributing Country (TCC) with 7653 (all ranks) deployed in seven different UN missions. UN-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is one of such missions where Pakistani troops are actively participating in a peacekeeping mission.

 

“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in its material and moral support to the oppressed and depressed people of the world and in upholding the principles of UN Charter.”

(Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah)

 

Contributions of Pakistani Contingent UNAMID for Peace in Northern Darfur, Sudan

 

Maj Umar Ismail Sajid Garewal

Darfur meaning “Land of the Fur” is a region in Western Sudan. Darfur was an independent sultanate for several hundred years incorporated into Sudan by Anglo Egyptian Forces in 1916. Darfur covers an area of 493,180 sq km (190,420 sq miles). Islam is followed in the region and the populace is divided into two communities namely Arabs and Africans, which are further divided into many tribes scattered all over Darfur. Africans are primarily sedentary farmers while Arabs are nomadic herdsmen. The basic dispute between African and Arab communities revolves around power and resource sharing.


The recent conflict in Darfur began in February 2003, when two armed groups Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against government for allegedly neglecting the region and oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. The government also responded to attacks by carrying out a campaign against rebels which later was termed as ethnic cleansing against Darfur's non-Arabs. The conflict resulted in massive killings of unarmed civilians and caused the ouster of 2.5 million people from their homes as IDPs. Darfur is divided into five federal states which are also the operational zones/commands of UNAMID: Central Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur, East Darfur and West Darfur.

 

srvingthepeace.1jpg.jpgPAKBATT-5 pursued UN mandate with full devotion and has successfully achieved significant results in Kutum sub-sector with untiring efforts of 10 months. Pakistani troops stabilized the situation through a combination of efforts which include aggressive patrolling, engaging communities’ leadership and introducing inter-community dialogue in the area which is being pursued by the government authorities with full zeal. Besides UN mandate, PAKBATT-5 has left no stone unturned to assist the locals/IDPs. Therefore, Pakistani contingent enjoys very good reputation among the populace. PAKBATT-5 has conducted a number of CIMIC activities and welfare projects on regular basis like: hosting inter-community harmony workshops, provision of water in villages and schools, establishment of medical camps and distribution of free medicine on regular basis, frequent visits to local schools for distribution of stationery items and interaction with children, frequent lectures are arranged for locals on health care, organising recreational events like sports tournaments, renovation of schools and hospitals, organising cultural and religious festivals for locals and celebration of Eid with IDPs etc.


Kutum sub-sector was considered to be the most hostile region in Darfur due to rebels’ activities. Since 2005, no high level official delegation from UNAMID or GoS had visited the Kutum region. After arrival of Pakistani contingent and efforts put in by PAKBATT-5 for stabilizing the situation for restoring peace, a number of high level officials/delegations from UNAMID, GoS and different international NGOs have been visiting Kutum since November 2016, which includes Ambassador of Germany, Ambassador of Switzerland, First Vice President of Sudan, Head of World Food Programme, Head of World Health Organisation and Joint Special Representative and Deputy Joint Special Representative of UNAMID. All of them acknowledged and appreciated the efforts and contributions of PAKBATT-5 for bringing peace back in the region which remains the potential flash point of UNAMID.


Now the peace is prevailing in the region and PAKBATT-5 has provided the populace a platform for durable peace, protection of human rights, economic upliftment through harvesting, promotion of social and moral values and most importantly improved the conditions of locals for bringing an end to the humanitarian crisis. The progress made by PAKBATT-5 in these challenging conditions is a source of pride for Pakistan.

ENABLERS OF UNAMID

PAKISTAN ENGINEERS COMPANY (PEC-9)

Lt Col Shaukat Naeem Khan

Pakistan Engineers Company-9
Pakistan Engineers Company was deployed in this mission on December 21, 2007 and its 9th rotation completed its deployment on March 13, 2017. It’s a multi-role outfit, entailing all engineer trades and various other arms. Mandate of PEC is to provide engineer support in the areas of mobility, survivability and general engineering in order to conduct horizontal and vertical constant and maintenance tasks to support overall mission mandate of the military component.

 

srvingthepeace2.jpgConstruction of Airport Ring Road
Airport Ring Road is 10 km long all-weather track which has been constructed to assist movement of patrolling vehicles and security personnel along the perimeter of airport which caused hindrance in the past due to loose and boggy sand. It had always been a cause of concern for security authorities resulting in overall setback of the security paraphernalia.


The 10 km long road has been successfully completed over a period of 3 months. It was a cumbersome task involving collection of material from quarry sites and water over long distances. Engineering practices were ensured for optimum quality.


Ardamata Valley Flood Protection Works
It is one of the most significant works carried out by PEC-9. This project has turned out to be a significant confidence building measure between UNAMID and GoS. Construction of 1 km gabion wall and excavation of 1.2 km diversion channel will protect the metalled road connecting El Geneina Airport and IDPs camp during flash floods of rainy season.


The project was completed over a period of 1 month. Quality of work, speed of execution and cooperation was highly appreciated by Head of Office, Commander Sector West, Senior Mission Support Officer and Government of Sudan. Local community also appreciated the efforts of PEC-9.

 

MINE AWARENESS DAY

UN international day for mine awareness and support was organized on April 3, 2017 under overall responsibility of PEC-9 in collaboration with ODO at Al Geneina camp. The event was organized in memory of mine victims of Darfur in general and El Geneina in particular. It aimed at educating the people of UNAMID and El Geneina regarding hazards and precautions against UXOs, mines and IEDs. The day was celebrated by organizing a friendly football match between UNAMID and Al Geneina team. Overall impact of the event was remarkable and was appreciated by all.

 

Hosting of SW Volley Ball Tournament

A volleyball tournament was organized by HQ SW for which main responsibility was assigned to PEC-9. PEC-9 ensured most professional standards and a very colorful event display. HoO appreciated the efforts and acknowledged them whole heartedly.

 

Easter Day Celebrations

Christians celebrate Easter with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers and the ringing of church bells. Similar arrangements were made for celebrating Easter Day in Pakistan Engineers Company at El Geneina on April 16, 2017.

 

A Case of Meaningful CIMIC Project by Pakistan Army Engineers-9, UNAMID

Sortoni IDP camp is located in northern Darfur and holds more than 20,000 IDPs. For this huge number of people there was only one mosque with temporary arrangement of CGI sheet roof and a stony floor. Renovation of this mosque was a long outstanding demand of IDPs. Pakistan Engineers Company took over the task to renovate this mosque and completed it in a short duration of two weeks.

 

During the execution it was ensured that good engineering practices were followed and no compromise on quality was accepted. Proper curing was carried out of each cemented work. Additional anchorage of roof was installed to save it from huboobs which are frequent in this part of the region. With the contribution from Contingent HQ, a number of additional works have been carried out which include construction of cemented floor of the mosque’s main hall, construction of 2 cupboards and gifting Holy Qurans for the mosque.

 

The mosque is a sacred place for the Muslims to perform their religious obligations. By providing this facility to grief-stricken populace of the Sortoni IDP Camp, Pakistan Contingent has provided a source of internal peace to the community, a true WHAM campaign.

Contributions of UNAMID Healers

Lt Col Muhammad Farid

Since the beginning of UNAMID in 2008, Pakistan Army Medical Corps is shouldering the responsibility of establishment and maintaining the only Level III Hospital of the hybrid mission at Nyala, Darfur. Pakistan Level III Hospital is the highest level of military medical facility available to the military and police troops serving in Darfur as well as the national and international civilian staff of United Nations employed in UNAMID. Pakistan Field Hospital-I was the pioneer of this skilled, advanced and highly professional healthcare set-up. Currently, Pakistan Field Hospital-9 is performing the assigned responsibilities since March 2017 in the most befitting manner.


Pakistan Level III Hospital is very well recognized for extending quality medical services for the utmost care and well-being of the dependent clientele and is rightfully acknowledged as “The UNAMID Healers” across the mission area of responsibility. The hospital has always been appreciated at all levels for exhibiting skilled professionalism and accomplishment of the assigned mandate in the most appropriate manner in the stipulated time-frame. Pakistan Military Field Hospital has set standards of excellence to be followed and acquired by medical set-ups of various countries performing duties in UNAMID.


The outfit of Pakistan Level III Hospital is fully equipped with latest primary care, multi-disciplinary specialized care, advanced surgical services, dental services, mental health services, intensive care unit and skilled Aero-Medical Evacuation Team (AMET) duly augmented with modern pathological and radiological diagnostics. tele-medicine, workshops, seminars, clinico-pathological conferences and contributions to the national and international journals in the form of well-researched scientific articles are the hallmark of this international hospital and a sound proof of the devotion and hard work put in by the officers and men employed in this well-reputed facility over the years.

 

srvingthepeace3.jpgBesides looking after the national and international civilian and military personnel of UN, Pakistan Level III Hospital also provides medical care to a large number of Sudanese population on humanitarian grounds to win the hearts and minds of the general public. The hospital has treated many accident cases, complicated medical cases and other emergencies of serious nature of the civilian local population completely free of cost who were not able to get the medical facilities outside due to lack of resources and expenses. The hospital always remains committed in provision of quality medical care, and clientele satisfaction with leading values in the pursuit of ever-rising professionalism.


The hospital has given treatment to more than 82,000 patients in the outdoor department and more than 11000 surgeries have been performed during a period of less than 9 years since August 2008. The number of patients given dental treatment, indoor treatment and rehab treatment is quite significant. Similarly, a large number of diagnostic facilities for the patients have been provided by the Radiology and Pathology departments of the hospital. A total of 34,805 internally displaced personnel (IDPs) of Sudan have also been treated at Pakistan Level III Hospital as a goodwill gesture.


Pakistan Level III Hospital, over the years, has earned huge respect and honour for the country and army in the civilian and military circles of United Nations and Sudan. The professional excellence of Pakistan Army Medical Corps has been acknowledged throughout the mission and UN Headquarters. The impressions imprinted by this hospital on the hearts and minds of the patients and visitors will surely last for long and they will always cherish the memories of their interaction with the staff as has been expressed by many in the past on various occasions.

 
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