Pakistan Army Contingent has been deployed under the emblem of United Nations and African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) since 2007. The Contingent consists of Pakistan Engineers Company (PEC), Pakistan Field Hospital (PFH) and Pakistan Battalion (PakBatt). Pakistan Army was called in by the UN to perform peacekeeping and rehabilitation missions at a time when Darfur region had suffered from the genocide of almost 2 million people. Contributions of the Contingent in Darfur over the past twelve years are immense and worth writing in golden words; a gist of which is highlighted here.
PEC-I landed in El Geneina (Sector West) during 2007 and started with the journey of rehabilitation and construction in almost complete Darfur (493,180 sq km). Over the period of time, PECs remained deployed at various locations including El Geneina (Sector West), Nirtiti (Sector Centre), El Fasher (Sector North), Sortony (Sector North), Kabkabiya (Sector North), Guldo (Sector Centre), Murni (Sector West), Mastari (Sector West) and Zalingei (Sector Centre). Major contributions of PECs remained establishment of 4 UN major/super camps, construction of living places for approximately 15,000 UN troops and civilians in the field, construction and maintenance of roads and tracks, construction/shifting of air field assets, shifting/repairing of UN containers and equipment, environment cleanliness, survey and construction of new roads/tracks and establishment of water points for civilians. Due to multifarious projects and prompt response, PECs were regarded as the ‘best force enablers in the UNAMID’ throughout their deployment. PEC-10 is now being repatriated in April 2019 as a result of overall drawdown of UNAMID.
Second to join Pakistan Contingent in Darfur was PFH-I in 2008 as UN level-III hospital at Nyala (Sector South) being UNAMID’s biggest hospital until December 31, 2018. PFH-10 was relocated to Kabkabiya (Sector North) and started functioning as level-II plus hospital with 7 specialist departments. On average, each PFH performed 822 surgeries (39 major and 783 minor), treatment of 8,556 patients (8192 outpatient and 363 inpatient). Besides providing medical treatment to over 15,000 patients, PFHs received high praise by organizing free medical camps for the local population, wherein more than 46,000 patients were treated i.e., 2,300 patients per medical camp and 2 camps per year on average. It also catered for the provision of medical services to the poor and needy patients of IDP camps on humanitarian grounds. Owing to such great service to humanity, Pakistani doctors became extremely popular with the title of “Pakistani healers” in the local community and PFH was given the title, “Pearl of UNAMID”. PFH-II is joining mission area in April 2019 (likely to remain in Darfur till withdrawal of UNAMID in June 2020).
Last to join orbit of UNAMID were PakBatts (year 2014/15) with the mandate to perform the tasks of peacekeeping. Each battalion remained deployed on minimum 2-3 team sites and performed operational tasks. On average, 4,570 patrols per annum (380/month) covering 572415 kms distance by B vehicles (47701/month) and 10200 kms by APCs (850 kms/month) were carried out by each PakBatt. Role of PakBatts in CIMIC/WHAM (civil-military cooperation/winning hearts and minds) campaigns and uplifting of the local community remained unprecedented in the history of UNAMID. Establishment of free medical camps, protection of civilians, provision of escorts, routine and special patrols, rescue operations/accidental medical evacuations, renovation of local hospitals and schools, construction of sports grounds and parks, strengthening local community and provision of financial assets (livestock) to the widows in the IDP camps are some of the major contributions by PakBatts in Darfur. Contributions of PakBatts have been appreciated time and again by UNAMID and the officials of the Government of Sudan. PakBatt-8 shall join mission area during May/June 2019.
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