From Sudan: Thank you Pakistan!

Published: July 28, 2012

I hope that in future Pak-Sudan relations will grow and that both nations will come out of their chambers of despair and into the limelight of peace and prosperity. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

This blog is not just based on my interest and respect for Pakistan. It is a personal thank you from a Sudanese person living in the United Arab Emirates for all the things Pakistan has done for my nation. The two countries share a very strong, special bond that I wish would strengthen further over the years to come.

For 13 years I have lived in the UAE; a home to over 130 different nationalities, working and living together striving for a better life for themselves and their families back home. South Asians constitute 42 per cent of the population. Of them, the Pakistani community stands strong at 1.2 million people.

When walking in the streets of Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah for instance, down Electra Street or the Old Souq, one tends to hear more Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil and Bangla than Arabic.

When living in such a diverse country you naturally make friends, and Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah), I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of meeting with several Pakistanis who told me a lot about their country.

As a historian, Pakistan’s history has always fascinated me. I don’t claim to be an expert on Pakistan and neither would my views on the country hold significance over someone who has lived in Pakistan. I truly believe that to understand the people of a certain country, you must visit and live amongst them. In this case, I follow the Arab proverb that says:

“Live with us then judge us.”

As a Sudanese, I fraternised with more Asians than I did with Arabs in the UAE. I befriended my apartment block’s security guard, Ijaz Khan. When returning from the mosque, we would talk for hours about everything; the updates about Musharraf’s emergency laws to discussing our shock about Bangladesh leaving Pakistani behind in making it to the super eight in the cricket World Cup. Even childish topics like the red peek marks left on the pavements from paan chewers did not escape our conversations.

I realised how similar Pakistan and Sudan are. Both are plagued by corrupt politicians, Islamic extremism, poverty and have had their share of military dictatorship – though Pakistan, I feel, is definitely more developed than Sudan. I can empathise with Pakistanis on the depression and pain they must go through when they hear news about recurring suicide bombings and honour killings; we felt the same way when the Mohammad teddy bear incident occurred and when journalist Lubna Hussein was flogged for wearing trousers. Incidents like these bring shame upon Islam and our people.

An issue that upsets me thoroughly is the discrimination and maltreatment towards South Asians, particularly Pakistanis, in the UAE. In my first school magazine, I was compelled to write an article criticising the inhumane treatment and lack of workers’ rights for South Asian labourers in the UAE, many of which are Pakistanis.

Unfortunately, the Sudanese youth is solely focused on finding secure jobs, particularly in the fields of medical and engineering. They have no time to explore Sudan’s foreign affairs and are oblivious to Pak-Sudan relations and the contributions Pakistan has made to their homeland.

The great diplomat, scholar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan advocated the independence of Sudan while sitting in the Security Council. Muhammad Khan carried forth Jinnah’s ethos on foreign policy being one:

“…of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed people of the world.”

Pakistan has contributed 1542 troops and 191 observers to the United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS). These men have served to maintain peace and security in our nation after 21 years of brutal civil war. We pay utmost respect to the efforts of late Brigadier Ahmad Moin Uddin, the deputy commander of UNMIS who was killed by Tehreek-e-Taliban militants in Islamabad.

Pakistan even sent aid to Sudan during our times of drought and famine. In turn, Sudan sent food supplies to Pakistan during the calamitous 2010 flood crisis. Under the “memorandum of understanding” between Sudan and Pakistan, our nations also agreed to cooperate in the fields of agriculture and healthcare. Pakistan was kind enough to offer medical training without any tuition fees.

And for all these things, I would like to say a big shukriya (thanks) to Pakistan and the people of Pakistan. In conclusion, my message to Pakistan is, despite the struggles you face every day, don’t surrender and don’t say,

“Main to kehta hun bas karo aur Malaysia challo.”

 (I say, forget this and let’s just go to Malaysia).

Instead, remain strong and proud in your history, heritage, culture and contributions to the world.

I hope that in the future, Pak-Sudan relations will grow and both nations will come out of their chambers of despair and into the limelight of peace and prosperity.

Follow Omar on Twitter @mightyoz92


Omar Zaki

A student of BA in History at the School of Oriental & African Studies. He is SOAS Union Secretary who Tweets @mightyoz92

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • VivaLaRevolution

    You forgot to mention that we both share another thing. We have Bangladesh and now possibly Baluchistan and you have South Sudan.
    I do hope relations with Sudan or any other country for that matter improve. Recommend

  • Awans

    Nice and fine. Atleast someone have good feelings for Pakistan and thanks for your wishes.Recommend

  • Shehryar

    Thank you Omar for having faith in my country and my people. We are going through a tough time but this too will pass and we will Inshallah come out on top. And I wish the same for Sudan and the Sudanese people. Recommend

  • Bilal

    Your welcome =DRecommend

  • Antebellum

    You are welcome.Recommend

  • Sarcasm

    Good blog, but……… are you sure it was Muhammad Zafarullah Khan ?Recommend

  • Tiger911

    You’re Welcome. There must be 1000s of stories of Pakistani missions in other countries but they are seldom appreciated. Recommend

  • san

    Mr Zaki thanks for your kind sympathies with the people of People Republic of Pakistan (Name changed). But still we are not hopeless.We still believe for how long we going to make fool of selfs. There is always a full-stop to anything. Mark my words..:)Recommend

  • NO JOY

    hey man, why are you crying?Recommend

  • Pungi

    You Indians will poke your nose in everything not related to you..!
    I m from Balochistan and very much happy to b a part of Pakistan.. :)Recommend

  • Pungi

    Happy to see someone from Islamic world realizing our Contributions to Muslim Nations for which we have contributed a lot and supported them on every forum from Palestine to Chechnya & Sudan…I hope one day they all will extend their support towards Pakistan’s just stance on Kashmir issue as well..!
    Thanks Omar Zaki for your Nice Words! :)Recommend

  • sherry

    if some one has said something positive about Pakistan that too with supporting facts ,please try to digest it though it wont be easy with the kind of mentality you seem to have,
    possibly balochistan , seriously?? what do you know about balochistan, 1st ask yourself then reply,
    and if you genuinely “Fear” so ,what have you done so far as a citizen of pakistan in this regard Recommend

  • sherry

    thank you very mush sir!Recommend

  • Tahir Amjad

    Thanks for yur comments for Pakistan…Recommend

  • Parvez

    I appreciate the direction from where your thoughts are coming and your message to remain positive. Thank you.Recommend

  • Actualization

    Thanks brother! I feel united with people of Sudan reading your blog. And if only we Muslims unite, there will be an end to our issues!Recommend

  • Ozymandias

    I met a gentleman from Sudan recently on a vacation., It was amazing how much in common we had.Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    @Sarcasm: Thanks man.
    For sure it was Muhammad Zafarullah Khan. At the time he was head of the Pakistan delegation in the United Nations he advocated the independence of many colonies. He didn’t just advocate independence for Sudan but also Tunisia, Indonesia, Eritrea etc. During his Presidency of the UN General Assembly and Judge in the International Court of Justice, this was the period where many African states were gaining independence in the 1950s/60s. Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    @VivaLaRevolution: Ya I did consider writing that, how we are both similar in the sense we have lost sections of our nations Bangladesh + South Sudan. Another thing I wanted to write but I was running out of words was how many Sudanese have studied & continue to in Pakistan. When I attended a Sudan Conference in Oxford University the first speaker was Al-Tayib Zain Al-Abdinwas a Sudanese Professor who taught Political Science in Islamabad University and the Sudani behind studied at Avadh University & he said many Sudanese & Palestinians studied in Pakistan. The Sudanese Ambassador to the UN got his Masters in International Relations from Preston University, Pakistan and even a relative I know did a Pharmacy degree in University of the Punjab & learnt Urdu there. So its surprising & interesting some of the links we have. Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    @NO JOY:
    I ain’t crying brother, although I can see why you say that. Bad bio picture on my part. My bad.Recommend

  • Ahmed sidduqui

    Yes, brother. Sudan and Pakistan are like two peas in a pod. Similar religion, similar socio economic status, part of the same ummah, same level of literacy, same views on religion, etc. I really think we ought to be closer in our relationship. I really hate it when the west likes to call both of us “failed states”. I think they are just jealous.Recommend

  • http://@mightyoz92 Omar Zaki

    @Pungi: No thank you brother.
    There was even more I could have written on Pakistans diplomatic assistance to us, but I didn’t want to bore you guys. In the United Nations Security Council & Human Rights Council, the Pakistan has always spoken in support of us & defended us. However indeed though my country has a terrible human rights record it doesn’t mean Pakistan was defending that but was rather defending Sudan against some of the western hypocritical & unfair resolutions in those chambers. Pakistan Zindabad! Recommend

  • http://@FozanGhalib Fozan Ghalib

    I appreciate your concern for Pakistan and its people Omar. And as we speak our hearts are crying for Sudan and South Sudan’s atrosities and for the political, economic & social unrest within these two twin countries. We feel the pain of Sudanese to lose/give away an essential part of them just like that as we have experienced such saddened series of events in the past as well, when we lost East Pakistan(which is now Bangladesh). We hope to work for the welfare of entire Muslim Ummah in the whole world in mere future and have a faith in Allah SWT who shall help us strenghten our brotherly ties as one single Muslim Ummah inshAllah o tala. Donot forget your Muslim brothers and sisters of Palestine, Kashmir, Burma/Myanmar Muslims, Bangladesh as well in your holy Ramadan prayers. May Allah SWT be with you all. Jazak Allah! Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Ahmed sidduqui: “I really think we ought to be closer in our relationship. I really hate it when the west likes to call both of us “failed states”. I think they are just jealous.”

    It would be nice to see Pakistani girls marrying Somali men and Somali girls marrying Pakistani men. There is no better way to bring Pakistan and Somalia closer.. Non-state Pakistani actors can help Somalis in shipping businessRecommend

  • Raw is War

    Dear Zaki

    These men have served to maintain peace and security in our nation after 21 years of brutal civil war.

    This civil war you speak of is just genocide of Christians. They were being butchered left right and center. So they got separated. Of course, Pakistan has experience in this kind of warfare. Bangladesh war of 1971 comes to my mind. They are also good at losing wars.

    Both are plagued by corrupt politicians, Islamic extremism, poverty

    At least you are honest with the above assessment. Islamic extremism. This has plagued India too. (We share the burden of 150 million Muslims who refused to go to Pakistan as per the 1947 agreement of partition- and they make our nation a hell hole.) When you guys stop this, world will be a better place. Recommend

  • Hassan Syed

    I am Hassan Syed working in the UN POLICE from Pakistan, Team Site officer in-charge of United Nation Police in very remote Located District Forobaranga West of Darfur Sudan. This blog reflect the efforts of Pakistanies Peace Keepers in Sudan. Apart from the obligation of United Nation there is a relation of trust and brother Muslim brotherhood between Pakistani and People of Sudan here. Coordinate with different NGOs is rather tiresome job. But in my Area of Responsibility Peace Keepers from Pakistan are performing level best efforts to mobiles the NGOs to minimize the worries of people in humanitarian crisis. May Almighty bless both countries with peace and prosperity.Recommend

  • x

    @RAW is WAR, people like you make the world a worse place. and your attitude against Muslims shows why there was a need for the independence of Pakistan :)Recommend

  • aisha

    @Omar Zaki, heartening to see something good about Pakistan. and your polite tone in the face of trolling by uncouth people is good to see. Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    @Raw is War:
    I’m afraid brother you are heavily mistaken and have bought into the narrow, misunderstood media narrative created by the American media in regards to the Sudanese Civil War. Although they themselves never called it a genocide that was African-American & Pro Zionist Churches & lobby groups in Washington that created that view.

    The Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) was very complex but what was not a ‘genocide’ or simply a case of war between ‘the mostly Arab Muslim North verses the mostly Christian Black South’ (most of the South Sudanese population is Animist not Christian – the dominant ruling Dinka ethnic group is Christian). It started after President Jafaar Numeri established Sharia law across the entire nation (including non-Muslim states) to gain favor with the rising Islamic parties. A rebellion began in the South led by Commander Dr. John Garang who wanted to stop this enforcement of Sharia but create a new plural, free Sudan which respected human rights. Even then you have to go earlier to the first Sudanese Civil war (1955-1972) and the British Closed Administration Law of 1921 which prevented Sudanese Muslims from travelling to the South thus created a social division between North & South.

    This has some similar historical parallels with India-Pakistan separation (1947) with the division of the Punjab and failure to decide fate of Kashmir, the British created a foundation for future conflict between the 2 countries, same with Sudan in 1921. Also you have to be careful when you use the term ‘genocide’ a state must have the legal intent to kill off an entire tribe, ethnic group, people, religion, nationality, sex etc. what benefit did the Sudan have in killing off all of its Christian population in the South, when we have a large Ethiopian & Egyptian Coptic community in the North?

    In regards to ‘Pakistan good at losing wars’, well with the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1947,1965 & 1971, from my limited military knowledge of those wars Pakistan did have a more technologically advanced army & more tank divisions but due to India’s much larger population & army size the odds are always against Pakistan. With the Muslim comment, c’mon man Gandhi-ji wouldn’t have approved of that comment. Indian Muslims are part of the fabric of Indian society and have both in historically & currently contributed to its greatness. Recommend

  • Sane


    You Indians better learn etiquette that when wise and elder talk do not poke your nose. Specially when the subject is solely not concerned to you.Recommend

  • Sane


    Very true you are.Recommend

  • Raw is War

    @ Omar Zaki

    thanks for replying back. My only grouse is Islamic terrorism is destroying the peace and prosperity of the modern world right now. Muslims are only worried about volumes- they want to increase their share of world population. It is a dangerous philosophy which is harmful to the earth and its peaceful co-existence. Muslims should learn from their cousins- the Jews. They should understand that Quality counts- not quantity.

    India defeated Pakistan due to quality of its army– not its equipment or superior numbers. I can quote an instance of 1971 war where just 100 Indian soldiers beat back an Pakistani attack of 2,000 people with superior weapons. More than 200 Pakistani soldiers died that day against only 2 Indian causalities. I will post a thread.

  • Omar Zaki

    @Hassan Syed:
    Asalam Wa Alaykom Hassan, thank you very much for your work, and the work of the Pakistani & UN peacekeepers in Darfur. It is greatly appreciated by me & those aware of it. Inshallah Allah blesses and assists both our nations & peoples against the challenges we face. Inshallah Allah keeps you safe. Be careful out there man, there has been a spark in rebel activity recently in past months, just today police shot & killed 6 student protesters in Nyala. Quite unusual as in the Sudan protests in the past months they would stop them by tear gas and sticks. This time they aimed & shot at innocent people. Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    Thank you Aisha, I know how it feels to solely see & hear negative news about your country, its something we both deal with. As for the ‘trolls’ no its all, I can’t miss up a debate/argument. Salam. Recommend

  • Fozan Ghalib

    @Raw is War:
    I appreciate your input. However, I strongly believe you shouldn’t just pick one side of the argument and drag it to an extend that it demoralizes and degrades just Muslims and more specifically Pakistan as a whole. We have extremists in every part of the world, whether it be Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Jews, however we have seen in the past if a Muslim is found culprit whether it be from India, Pakistan or any other part of world he is tagged as a terrorist or labelled with a terrorist group for the rest of his life. But on the other, we deliberately ignore such similar criminal acts from other religions? WHY? We have live currents examples of unlawful killing of Muslims and destruction of property in Burma’s Rohingya Muslims regions. Even Amnesty International, UN, HRC and other media agents have accused Burmese Buddhists as Targeting Rohingya Muslims in Burma which has caused huge displacement of Muslims from Burma to Bangladesh and Assam region of India. How would you justify the recent Bodo-Muslim massive killing in Assam India by Hindu extremists? and Rohingya Muslims by Buddhist extremists? Aren’t they part of this ‘world’ that you quoted above? or are they exempted from performing such violence?
    Lets take another fresh example from a city Colorado in United States of America,where recently a 24 year old Christian university graduate James Holmes opened fire in a cinema screening killing 24 and injured 116. According to media,it was one of America’s worse mass shooting, he is still being trialed. If he was a Muslim they would say he’a terrorist without a second thought but since he’s a white christian guy they call him a top student who graduated with honors degree but couldn’t find work so is disturbed or bullied or depressed. Still a ‘Suspect’ for now.
    You used the word ‘genocide’ above, lets show you what exactly genocide/holocaust mean and how it really affects the humans as a whole. Why not click some past event taps and search for Palestine Genocide over past decade by Israeli Jews forces and Zionist war crimes in occupied Palestine? Doesn’t come under your ‘extremist’ definition right?
    Listen brother ‘ don’t know your name to address’ I don’t say Pakistan is a soil where no such criminal/unlawful activities occur, we’re clean. Definitely not, but so is the case with various other countries who act as counter parts as well. By addressing all the issues above I don’t say or intend to do the blame game, no way! I just want to fill you and of-course rest of the viewers with the recent injustice scenarios where no one is held accountable for. I am a Pakistani, living in Europe and have many Indian friends as well. I have enough respect for indians, we expect the same from you guys. Come on we share so much in common, should not waste it. You need to broaden your knowledge and need to adopt a more constructive approach while dealing with posts on public forums.Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    @Raw is War:
    No problem for replying back, I enjoy discussions/debates/argument which ever one you want to use.

    Many of us have a problem with Islamic extremism but the whole Muslim population is not to blame. The Muslim extremism has many causes mostly economic & social like Muslims trying to connect more strongly with their Islamic identity. But much of Islamic extremism you see in the Middle East & elsewhere has e.g. Al-Qeada was due to Americas biased foreign relations, always supporting Israel and Arab dictatorships these were the main motives of 9/11 even former Head of the Obama Bin Laden in the CIA – Michael Scheuer believes this. There is extremism everywhere Jewish Ultra-conservative extremists in the Israeli Knesset & settlements have been the main obstacle in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    The US & Pakistan have always been allies even though that relationship is strained now, and the US always gave and sold Pakistani its military equipment which was better than the British Soviet made items of the Indian army for instance in the 1965 war Pakistan had US M-48 Patton & Sherman tanks while India had British centurion and Soviet PT-76 not such a strong quality tank. Sure I don’t doubt the skill and quality of the Indian army but generally speaking because of US supplies of military equipment particularly from the Nixon administration during the 1971 war, Pakistan had generally better equipment. Look at Israel for example it was outnumbered 3 to 1 in the 1967 6 Day War but still won due to better training & military equipment. Pakistan controlled small parts of India & India captured parts of Pakistan.

    Now when you made the statement saying we should learn from our cousins the Jews in terms of quantity hear i believe you are referring the great amount of Jewish thinkers, scientists, writers that have contributed to human achievement of the 800 Nobel Laureates 160 of them are Jewish only 3 Muslim including the Pakistani scientist Abdus Salam. What can one say is the cause of this massive gap well it comes down to education. Vast majority of Jews have historically lived in developed regions of the world, US, UK, Canada, Israel so on. So in turn they have had good access to education, majority of Muslims on the other hand as well as Christians live in developing parts of the world. Also I’m not going to lie, Jews have a strong culture of education, the Torah tells Jews: ‘I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children’ – Deuteronomy 6:4­8

    Well don’t forget Muslims had an influence on Jewish knowledge being the period of Al-Andulus in Spain, between the 700s and 1400s where Muslims, Christians & Jews lived and worked together. This period was known as ‘the Jewish Golden Age’ where Jewish culture, science & philosophy thrived. Recommend

  • Sane

    @Raw is War

    thanks for replying back. My only grouse is Islamic terrorism.……….

    How about Hindu Terrorism which circussed in Gujarat and now in Asaam. Which has a long history is also rampant and state supported. Shouldn’t this be discussed?Recommend

  • Sane

    @Raw is War:
    You just deceit readers by referring incorrect information. The same old fashioned Indian propaganda.technique is unveiled now. Even the links you mentioned are either irrelevant or unfounded. Pakistani forces were defeated in East Pakistan just due to sheer betrayal of US and conspiracy of some ‘quarters’. Better you find the reason as why China harshly defeated India in 1961 ind-china war.Recommend

  • Jehangir

    @raw is war, Buddy you and your Indian brethren really need to find a better hobby than talking trash about Pakistan on the internet. Honestly, do you have NOTHING more exciting to do with your time. What’s this buzz I keep hearing about “Incredible India?” Why don’t you go ahead and enjoy your “incredible” country and leave us the hell alone? Ok, thanks.Recommend

  • Sane

    I am sure that Ids of Raw is War and many Indian Ids are compensated or paid to bark against Pakistan, Muslims and Islam whether it relates to the subject or not.Recommend

  • Noble Tufail

    Omar Zaki: a commendable effort man to strengthen/appraise ties and relationship between two nations. We value your feelings from core of the heart. Recommend

  • http://@mightyoz92 Omar Zaki

    @Noble Tufail:
    Thank you very much brother. Recommend

  • Knotty

    Thanks a lot Omar.
    Only if our Media highlight these kinds of things!Recommend

  • Omar Zaki

    This is from a Sudanese friend Mohammed Siddig:

    ‘I would also like to use opportunity to thank Pakistan for their valuable contributions to Muslim communities especially in western countries and for being active engaged citizens anywhere they settle. The mosque nearest my house in Maryland is Pakistani built and maintained and by far this is one of the best equipped and preserved mosques in the entire Washington DC metropolitan area. The Pakistanis have transformed this mosque into a community centre that houses an islamic library, a class for kids to learn Arabic on Sundays , a free clinic with a volunteer physician on site to help families that cannot afford to buy health insurance and proper fundraiser events that help generate a lot of money to increase the quantity and quality of service provided by the mosque to the Muslim community.’Recommend