Pakistanis evacuated from Sudan arriving at Karachi airport on April 28, 2023. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Pakistan completed its evacuation mission on Tuesday, rescuing as many as 1,025 of its residents from conflict-hit Sudan, the Foreign Office has said.

The rescue mission, one of Pakistan’s largest, concluded on May 2 as fighting continued in Sudan’s capital Khartoum. The fighting between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary force has killed more than 500 people and wounded 4,200 since April 15.

“We have successfully and safely evacuated over 1,000 Pakistanis out of Sudan. With this our evacuation operations out of Sudan have ended,” the ministry of foreign affairs announced.

However, repatriations would continue from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, until the “last Pakistani is eventually brought back”, Foreign Secretary Asad Majeed Khan said.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Air Force conducted swift airlift operations to rescue stranded Pakistanis from conflict-hit Sudan. The air force made “all-out efforts to repatriate stranded Pakistanis” in coordination with the foreign office and Pakistan embassies in Sudan and Saudi Arabia, according to a PAF statement.

Robust inter-agency process

Pakistan has expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia and China for facilitating the rescue operations and providing transport to shift Pakistanis from Sudan.

After a group of 216 Pakistani nationals arrived in Jeddah from Port Sudan aboard the Chinese navy vessel Weishanhu on Friday night, the Pakistan Foreign Office said: “We are grateful to our Chinese friends for this gesture of support and friendship.”

Saudi Arabian government played a crucial role in providing transportation and hosting Pakistani nationals until repatriation. Many of the rescued Pakistanis expressed thanks to Saudi Arabia for bringing them to the safety of its shores.

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the evacuation process was successfully carried out through a robust inter-agency process led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The evacuation plan was carried out in different phases in which some citizens were transported from Khartoum to Port Sudan to Jeddah and some directly to Pakistan.