Another 97 Pakistanis return after evacuation from Sudan

Published April 30, 2023
Another batch of Pakistanis stranded in Sudan reach Karachi on Saturday. — Photo by Foreign Office
Another batch of Pakistanis stranded in Sudan reach Karachi on Saturday. — Photo by Foreign Office

ISLAMABAD: Another group of 97 Pakistani nat­io­nals evacuated from Sudan arrived in Karachi on Saturday as people continue to flee the war-torn country which the UN chief said “is falling apart”.

This brought the total number of evacuated Pak­is­tanis to 357, as 260 lan­ded in Karachi a day ago.

The group was flown from Jeddah to the Jinnah International Airport via a C-130 aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force.

The government of Pakistan will continue to facilitate the safe return of stranded Pakistanis, the Foreign Office spokesperson said.

According to a PAF press release, as per the direction of Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu, PAF’s transport aircraft successfully carried out evacuation missions “with complete professionalism and determination” to bring their Pakistani brothers and sisters to safety immediately.

‘Sudan falling apart’

As war continued to ravage the country, UN chief Antonio Guterres threw his support behind mediation efforts.

“My appeal is for everything to be done to support an African-led initiative for peace in Sudan,” he told Al Arabiya, a Riyadh-based news channel.

“There is no right to go on fighting for power when the country is falling apart.”

Meanwhile, warplanes on bombing raids drew heavy anti-aircraft fire over Khartoum on Saturday as fierce fighting between Sudan’s army and paramilitaries entered a third week, violating a renewed truce.

More than 500 people have been killed since battles erupted on April 15 between the forces of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his number two Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Tens of thousands of people have been uprooted within Sudan or embarked on arduous trips to neighbouring Chad, Egypt, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to flee the battles.

The latest three-day ceasefire — due to expire at midnight Sunday — was agreed Thursday after mediation led by the US, Saudi Arabia, the African Union and the United Nations.

Mass exodus

The fighting has also triggered a mass exodus of Sudanese, foreigners and international staff.

On Saturday, a ferry with around 1,900 evacuees, 65 of them Iranians, arrived at a Saudi naval base in Jeddah from Port Sudan, in the latest evacuation to the kingdom by sea.

“Because of our nationality, we had never imagined we would come to Saudi Arabia when we were evacuated,” said a 28-year-old Iranian Merhdad Malekzadh who had been living in Khartoum since he was a child.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2023

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