Pakistan and Darfur

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur engendered by the Janjaweed militia and the Sudanese government has finally caught some international attention. While the US is threatening sanctions and France has moved troops to the Chad-Sudan border, Pakistan has responded with mealy-mouthed statements.

Pakistan has called for renewed efforts to find a political solution to the Darfur crisis as the United States threatened to impose UN sanctions on Sudan.

[…]Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram, in a closed-door session of the Council, spoke of Pakistan’s close relationship with Sudan, saying: “We are as concerned as anyone else with regard to the fate of the people on both sides (of the conflict) as all are Muslims.”

So what is Pakistan doing to save the poor Muslims of Darfur who are being killed and made to flee their homes? Pakistani officials can’t even say a word about their sufferings.

Issuing caveat against hasty action, Mr Akram said: “Why rebels had come to the negotiating table with pre-conditions? Was it because they (rebels) believed that they had the unconditional support of a certain major power and that the government of Sudan was going to bear the brunt?

While the rebel preconditions might not have been very wise, the Pakistani ambassador’s attitude is what’s known as knee-jerk anti-Americanism.

“If that was the case, there would be little incentive for the rebels to be reasonable,” the Mr Akram said. “The Council’s action should be measured and balanced so as not to adversely the political negotiations.”

Pakistan’s chief delegate said there was a lot of talk of sanctions and also of what the western media has been calling “bad guys” – a reference to those members who oppose the US stand – and added: “Our people feel much more for the people of Sudan than those who are writing those editorials.”

Here’s a simple definition: Those being killed, raped and thrown out of their houses and villages are the victims and the perpetrators are the bad guys. Is that so difficult to understand, Mr. Ambassador?

Then Musharraf decided to play some role by issuing similar meaningless statements and talking to everybody.

Over the past week, President Gen Pervez Musharraf contacted several world leaders to help addresshumanitarian crisis at Darfur, Sudan.

[…]In his contacts with world leaders, the president emphasized that the situation should not be allowed to spin out of control in order to save Sudan and the international community from a grave tragedy.

[…]The president telephoned President Omar Hasan Ahmad Al-Bashir of Sudan to underline that the implementation of commitments between the UN and the Sudanese government provided the framework for a viable solution to the Darfur crisis.

President Bashir appreciated President Musharraf’s keen interest and briefed him about efforts the Sudanese government was making to resolve the problem. The president also conveyed to President Bashir the concern of the Islamic world on the issue and its consequences for the brotherly people of Sudan.

Later, the President spoke to UN Secretry-General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell to underscore the need for a diplomatic solution to the issue instead of sanctions or threat of sanctions.

[…]During the past few weeks, leaders of Sweden, Finland, Germany and the US telephoned the president and requested him to play a greater role in defusing the situation in Darfun, the press release said.

Time and again, Pakistan’s official statements on the Darfur crisis have had the underlying assumption that there are two equal sides to the conflict, something that is clearly wrong.

“We hope and expect that SLA and JEM will adopt a realistic and constructive position in the dialogue which is to be undertaken under the auspices of the African Union (AU) mediation,” said Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Masood Khalid.

He said that parties must negotiate in good faith in this dialogue.

In a statement in explanation of vote after adoption of the resolution on Darfur in the Security Council, Pakistan said “the people and government of Pakistan are as concerned about the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan as other members of the international community.”

But if they are so concerned, why didn’t they vote for the UN resolution?

The US-drafted resolution passed by a vote of 13-0. China and Pakistan abstained, saying they preferred to let negotiations continue.

[…]Masood Khalid said, all the people suffering as a result of this crisis are part of the Islamic Ummah, and therefore, Pakistan fully shares the humanitarian objectives of the resolution.

Who are “all the people”?

And finally, here is Pakistan’s weak defence of its absentation from the Security Council vote.

Pakistan said on Saturday that it had abstained from the UN Security Council vote on the Sudan issue as it considered the final text of the resolution inadequate to resolve the crisis.

The foreign office, in a press release, appreciated the improvement made in the draft in response to Pakistan’s proposals. Yet, it pointed out, the final text lacked the ‘delicate balance’ that the complex situation in Sudan required.

The FO regretted that no compromise had been possible despite efforts and consistent counselling by Pakistan for a calibrated response.

[…]Pakistan emphasized that the cooperation of the government of Sudan was critical in realizing the objectives of saving lives, addressing the humanitarian crisis, and stabilizing peace in the Darfur region.

“Our collective endeavours must encourage that cooperation, not complicate it,” it maintains.

[…]Pakistan did not believe that the threat or imposition of sanctions on Sudan was advisable under this resolution.

Pakistan hoped that the Security Council would not take any drastic measures.

[…]Pakistan also did not believe that the adoption of the entire resolution under Chapter VII was necessary. It welcomed the emphasis on the need for a political solution to the crisis and hoped that all parties must participate in the dialogue in good faith.

Pakistan said that a solution to the Darfur crisis must be found within the unity and territorial integrity of Sudan.

The foreign office said that President Musharraf in two telephonic conversations with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Beshir had emphasized the need for a visible action for speedy disarmament of the Janjaweed militia. The president had been invited to visit Sudan, it said.

I must say I am disappointed, even though I didn’t expect much.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

9 thoughts on “Pakistan and Darfur”

  1. Musharraf’s actions end up defending the Sudanese genocide

    Why the ambivalence? After making concerned noises about the genocide in Sudan, Pakistan has abstained from a UN vote on humanitarian intervention in the country. Pakistan’s abstention only helps the Sudanese regime and its state-sponsored programme of…

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  3. Ahmad: Anti-Pakistan? I don’t think so. Against some specific stances or actions of the Pakistani government: Definitely.

  4. Pakistan seems to have lost true direction towards world affairs. General has reduced us to mere followers of foreign dictation. not that we were any better before but recent progress in terms of talks on siachin and sir creek and kashmir and then problem in darfur speak volumes of the cowardness and unstability in our foreign policy.. i dont know we have to fear whom when we speak the truth and side with it.

  5. Moiz: I don’t think we have gotten worse in this regard. However, there is a disconnect today between people’s aspirations, current policy and deviations from previous policy. A strange combination of an about-face and total inertia are impeding our foreign policy in general.

    But I have no idea why Pakistan is pursuing its present policy on Sudan. Their is no national interest question there.

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