Monday, April 24, 2023

Pakistani woman, family stuck in Sudan appeal for help

“Due to ongoing turmoil in Sudan, a mob is attacking homes and raping women, kids” says woman trapped in Khartoum

Shortly after the federal government’s announcement that its plan to evacuate Pakistanis stranded in war-hit Sudan was successful, a Pakistani woman and her family trapped in Khartoum, the capital city of the war-struck country, have appealed for help.

“Due to the ongoing turmoil that has escalated in Sudan, a mob is attacking homes and raping women and kids on streets,” Shireen Hameeduddin Khan, a Pakistani woman trapped in Khartoum, told Geo News. She requested that “urgent measures of evacuation” be taken by the Pakistan embassy to evacuate her and her family to Jeddah.

Reaching out to Geo News for help, Shireen’s Pakistan-based family members have revealed that her husband is a Sudanese national, because of which the Pakistan embassy claims that they are only responsible for saving Shireen.

According to Shireen's family, the embassy has told her that her husband, daughters, and other members of their family are not the embassy's responsibility.

“How can Shireen leave her children and husband in Sudan?” the relative asked.

The family has appealed that Shireen be taken out of Sudan along with her children and husband.

Through a WhatsApp message, Shireen shared the state of the affairs in the war-ridden country.

“My name is Shireen Hameeduddin Khan — a Pakistani national bearing [a Pakistani] passport living in Khartoum, Sudan with my husband (Khalid Hafazallah Mirghany) and family.

“Due to the ongoing turmoil that has escalated immensely in Sudan, the mob is attacking homes and raping women and kids on streets. Highly urgent measures of evacuation [are] solicited from [the] Pakistan embassy to evacuate me and my family from Sudan to Jeddah where my father is at the moment, and then I can fly to Karachi, Pakistan,” Shireen stated.

She further said; “I have made efforts on my own and got connected to Sajid working in the Pakistan embassy who assured me that we would be evacuated in 24 hours. We have packed our bags but till now we are stuck and the situation has aggravated.

“I request you to please take measures for my shelter and to assist me getting out from here with my family,” she requested, adding that her cousins and the paternal side of her family all lived in Pakistan.

In an accompanying voice note, Shireen said that her family did not have an entry visa to come to Pakistan and requested that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto provide her assistance in the matter.

"I am asking for the help of Bilawal Bhutto as well to intervene to try to take us all from here... to grant my family entry visa or something... I will be evacuating myself and my family because my house is now under attack and I have to evacuate myself," she said. 

Earlier today, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that the government's plan to evacuate Pakistanis stranded in war-hit Sudan was successful after 427 citizens reached Port Sudan for onward repatriation through special flights.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was personally monitoring the emergency plan for the evacuation of Pakistani nationals during the last 72 hours.

The PMO added that the evacuated Pakistanis who were being repatriated to Pakistan through special flights were provided accommodation and food by the government.

What’s happening in Sudan?

Fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

More than 400 people have been killed in the clashes so far.

Daglo’s RSF emerged from the Janjaweed fighters whom former strongman Omar al-Bashir unleashed in the Darfur region, where they were accused of war crimes including genocide.

The military toppled Bashir in April 2019 following mass citizen protests.

The two generals seized power in a 2021 coup, but later fell out in a bitter power struggle, most recently centred on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army.

Multiple truces have been agreed upon in recent days and ignored.