The Foreign Office announced on Monday that the first group of 500 Pakistani citizens has safely reached Sudan’s port to continue their journey to Saudi Arabia via sea. The situation in Sudan has become increasingly unstable, and evacuations have been expedited.
The statement from the Foreign Office came after Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Islamabad confirmed on Sunday that 91 people from different countries, including Pakistan, have been evacuated from Sudan. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been closely monitoring the emergency plan for the evacuation of Pakistani citizens for the past 72 hours. Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan International Airlines will cooperate to bring back the 500 Pakistanis evacuated from Jeddah through special flights.
On the Foreign Minister’s directive, the government is providing temporary accommodation and food to these Pakistanis, and an emergency helpline has been established at the Pakistan Embassy in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
The crisis management cell at the Foreign Office has been reactivated to ensure the safe repatriation of the stranded Pakistanis from Sudan. The Pakistan Embassy is in touch with its citizens, and the measures for their protection are being constantly monitored. Pakistan’s diplomatic missions in the region are also helping with the evacuation process.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed gratitude to the governments of Egypt and Turkiye for their support in the evacuation process. He also had a telephonic conversation with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
They exchanged views on regional and global issues and agreed to closely coordinate to facilitate evacuations. The Foreign Minister expressed confidence that the resumption of diplomatic relations between the kingdom and Iran would lead to regional peace and prosperity.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif praised the efforts of the Foreign Minister, Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar, foreign ministry officials, and Pakistan’s ambassador in Sudan. He also appreciated the military authorities and other relevant people for their expertise and dutifulness in formulating an effective evacuation plan and its successful implementation. The Premier expressed gratitude to Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu and Director General of ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum for their special efforts in the evacuation process, which involved multiple challenges and risks.
Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Pakistan, while announcing the evacuation of 91 people, said that the operation was carried out by the Royal Saudi Naval Forces with the support of various branches of the armed forces, following the kingdom’s leadership’s directives. The evacuees included 66 people from different countries, such as Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, and Burkina Faso. The airport in Khartoum has been the site of heavy clashes, resulting in multiple evacuation operations to rescue foreign citizens and diplomats via road, air, and sea. A UN convoy carrying 700 people completed the arduous trip to Port Sudan on Monday.