Project Reports

Report of Seminar on Sudan: Current & Future Prospect


Research think-tank MUSLIM Institute organized a seminar “Sudan: Current & Future Prospects”, in Islamabad. The event was attended by diplomats, scholars, analysts and researchers from different universities and research institutes.

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Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali
Chairman MUSLIM Institute

In his inaugural address, Chairman MUSLIM Institute Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali welcomed all the respected guests for their kind participation in the seminar. He said that MUSLIM Institute is dedicated to undertake research on and objective analysis of challenges being faced by Pakistan as well as other Muslim countries to overcome the same. We strive to bring forth unbiased and constructive opinions, researches, and analysis since MUSLIM Institute firmly believes in neutrality. So far, MUSLIM Institute has held various research based seminars, conferences, thought provoking dialogues, discussions, cultural events etc. to promote harmony. Today’s event is also part of the same effort and continuity of the mission being pursued by our Institute. Sudan holds great importance not only in Africa but also in entire Islamic world. It is a matter of deep worry that a brotherly Islamic country has been facing instability and disturbances since its independence. Since MUSLIM Institute has taken up the Mission of Unity, Stability, Leadership in Muslims, considering the situation in Sudan, it is our responsibility to analyze and bring to light research based factors that can lead to peaceful resolution of conflicts. This seminar is aimed at promoting awareness about conditions prevalent in Sudan. We would be enlightened by our distinguished speakers about maneuverings of international powers to cause ethnic and communal disturbances in Sudan to occupy its resources.

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H.E Shafi Ahmad Muhammad
Ambassador of Sudan

Ambassador of Sudan H.E Shafi Ahmad Muhammad, expressing his views said that Sudan is blessed with rich resources but also facing lot of challenges. However, support of Pakistan and its people for their Sudanese brethren in critical times is commendable. Both Pakistan and Sudan have brotherly relations and due to its strategic location, Sudan can offer Pakistan access to Africa. Sudan has reservoirs of Gold, Oil & Aluminum and large scale of land could be cultivated. Pakistani investors avail investment opportunities in Sudan. We expect further warming of relations between both the countries in days to come.

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H.E Waleed Abu Ali
Ambassador of Palestine

Ambassador of Palestine H.E Waleed Abu Ali, in his address, termed the holding of seminar a matter of great joy as everybody gathered to discuss situation of a brotherly Muslim country and to find out solution to the same. Sudan has been providing edible items to the Arab world and known as “food-basket” of the Arab world. He suspected Israeli influence in stoking conflicts in Sudan as Israel wants control over Red Sea. Sudan gave the refuge to the freedom-fighters of Palestine and for that reason Sudan has been punished by Israel. Israel has already caused disturbances in Libya, Yemen and Syria to establish hegemony in the Arab world. Israel wants to weaken every resourceful country in the region so that no one challenges its domination. He urged that OIC should play vibrant role in these critical times and all Muslims should make sincere efforts for solutions of challenges faced by Muslim world and to foil conspiracies of external powers.

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Adnan Hanif
Research Associate MUSLIM Institute

Adnan Hanif, Research Associate MUSLIM Institute, gave a presentation on history, geography, demography, resources and nature of conflicts in Sudan and also gave brief overview of Pak – Sudan relations. He explained that that Republic of Sudan also referred as the North Sudan is now the third largest country in Africa, while before separation of South Sudan, it was the largest country in Africa. Highlighting cultural diversity of the country, he informed that more than 200 languages are spoken in Sudan. Islam was introduced to Sudan by Arab immigrants and traders from Egypt after the conquest of Egypt in 7th Century. Sufis particularly Sheikh TajUd din Bokhari, a Sufi of Qadri Order, established by Sheikh Abdul QadirJialni in Bahghdad, played important role in preaching of Islam in Sudan in 16th Century A.D.

Sudan gained independence from Anglo-Egyptian rule on January 01, 1956. Since its independence Sudan has been a victim of political instability and internal conflicts with two civil wars that lasted for 39 years wherein 2.4 million people lose their lives. These disturbances are to be seen in context of control of natural resources especially oil reserves that now lay along the border between North and South Sudan. Darfur Crisis started in 2003, when the Sudan Liberation Movement / Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups took up arms against the Government of Sudan. The conflict is of the ethnic nature. In 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed between Government of Sudan and Sudan Liberation Movement. The conflict again intensified as some of the rebel groups refused to acknowledge the agreement. Peace process for Darfur is in progress after another Darfur Peace Agreement in 2011 in Doha. South Sudan separated from North Sudan after referendum in 2011 in which 98% people voted for independence from Sudan. South Sudan is also having political instability since its independence, while recent coup against President SalvaKiirMayardit Government in South Sudan has sparked a new wave of violations in the country.

Relations between Pakistan and Sudan are based on strong Islamic bond and political connections. Pakistan shares similarity with Sudan as it suffered political instability since its independence .Pakistan’s exports to Sudan amount to USD 67 million and imports up to USD 2.20 million in trade. Pakistan also contributed to the UN peacekeeping force in Sudan with 1,542 personnel and 92 Observers. More than 500 Students study in the Pakistani Universities. Sudan has donated generously in the relief efforts during earthquake in 2005 and floods in 2010 in Pakistan.

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Ambassador (R) Sohail Amin
President Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)

Ambassador (R) Sohail Amin, President Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), presented his paper on “Division of Sudan and Implications for North Sudan, African Region and Muslim World.” His paper explained factors leading to division of Sudan, salient features of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by northern and southern Sudanese leaders in 2005 and the referendum held in South Sudan which resulted in the creation of South Sudan as an independent state in July He also discussed the problems that later emerged between Sudan and South Sudan and described measures that were taken by both sides for resolution of their disputes.

Explaining relations of Sudan with neighboring as well as other Muslim countries, he mentioned that geographical location of Sudan and its colonial history played an important role in the strong alliances which governments in Khartoum had made with African and the Muslim World. In this context Sudan had signed bilateral agreements in economic, trade, cultural and security areas with many African and Islamic countries. He stated that Pakistan has maintained close and cordial relations with the Sudan for the last many decades. Pakistan supported all relevant resolutions and statements of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in Sudan and favored the resolution of all outstanding issues under CPA of 2005 and African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). Pakistan continues to extend technical assistance to Sudan in the fields of education and agriculture. Our universities and colleges of professional education are very popular among Sudanese students. In Darfur a significant number of Pakistani troops and police personnel are performing the peace keeping duties under the United Nations African Mission in the Darfur (UNAMID).

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Gen(R) Hamid Gul
Former Director General ISI

Former Director General ISI, Lt. Gen(R) Hamid Gul expressed his views on the topic “Role of International Organizations in Sudan”. He said that the universal growth of NGOs over the past two decades has given them an increasingly important role and has led them forming a distinctive sector within civil society. Non-governmental’, ‘third sector’ or ‘not-for profit’ organizations have in recent years become high profile actors within public policy landscapes at local, national and global levels. In Sudan, some NGOs with clear political agendas have been proliferating and that can hinder conflict resolution and entangle the NGOs in the conflict. This is a lesson for all developing countries.

Sudan presents very good example of potentially capable Muslim country which has been overcome by international organizations as Civil war in Darfur has involved many international agencies and countries. A much more serious blow has led to the division of North and South Sudan .The procedure followed for this international plan has many dubious aspects, for example census of Muslims, Christians and Animists. Such an artificial division has already become unstable with large scale killings and another civil war situation in south Sudan. It is well established that international agencies/donors use only 15-25% of funds in local development whereas over 80% skimmed off by the outside or locally sponsored organizations. Pakistan too is victim of such unaccounted activities of foreign NGOs. All international agencies and NGO’s should be properly scrutinized and their work clearly explained. Monitoring and evaluation of their operations must be emphasized.

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Senator Raja Zafarul Haq
Chairman PML (N)

Chairman PML (N) Raja Zafarul Haq, the Chair of the Seminar, said that people of Sudan are very tolerant and forbearing. He regretted that some Islamic countries also have their role in deteriorating situation in Sudan. However, things may improve as North and South Sudan are trying for the same through reconciliation. He further stated that there are many similarities between situation in Sudan and Pakistan. He referred to his personal experience that once in the meeting of Motamar Al-Alam Al-Islami in Sudan all speakers were given specific time whereas he was given time without any limit to speak about Kashmir & Palestine. He said that the people of Sudan have always loved Islamic laws and they struggled to implement such laws to live the life as per Islamic rules. Due to dedication and determination of Sudanese people, bright future for them is expected.

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Based on the valued input of distinguished speakers, following recommendations were made with regard to situation of Sudan as well as for improving Pak-Sudan relations:-

A. Due to a long history of mistrust and wars, for survival and subsequent development, both countries need to focus urgently on peace building measures to boost confidence. This will require leadership, coordination, and accountability. But it will also require quick assessment and response to immediate threats of conflict, which are most likely to emerge in the borderline belt. A policy of cooperation and collaboration rather than that of confrontation should be implemented. The basis of cooperation can be the common history, people and economy.
 
B. A mechanism should be developed to address and resolve internal critical issues, conflicts and power struggles, whether they be political, financial, military or otherwise in nature. The objective is to solve matters internally and avoid foreign intervention. Successful models of such instances can later be shared with other Muslim countries.
 
C. An independent commission can be established to overlook and safeguard the rights of minorities in both the countries. This commission can take Charter of Madina, the demonstration of minority rights after the conquest of Jerusalem in the time of Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (RA) and the Speech of Quaid-e-Azam on 11th August 1947 as a model. The objective of this is to avert any cases related to religious conflicts.
 
D. Moreover, in this age of psychological warfare, opinion making has become a strong tool for sowing seeds of discord among the people. International media groups project an image suitable to their own vested interests, in which Muslim ideology is maligned at every opportunity. Therefore, Muslim states should collectively establish forums to neutralize such malicious propaganda.
 
E. Role of international Non-government organizations also is of a dubious nature, since their agendas reflect those of their financers, therefore, strong regulations need to be implemented and monitored to safeguard national interests against any antagonistic agendas.
 
F. Development of new and engagement of already existing like-minded think tanks and research institutes may be promoted.
 
G. Pakistan-Sudan friendship forum to be established for promoting multi-lateral cooperation in the fields of trade, culture, education, science, technology, health, agriculture, infrastructure and defense.
 
H. In the context of enhancing trade relations with Sudan, a meeting between Pakistan-Sudan Joint Ministerial Commission should be held as soon as possible so that available trade and investment opportunities in Sudan could be exploited to the advantage of both countries.
 
I. Pakistan and Sudan can play their role in bringing the Muslim world closer via direct relations and international platforms such as OIC, Arab League, Motamar Al-Alam Al-Islami. Thus playing a proactive role for the unity of Muslim Ummah.
 
J. China, Pakistan, Sudan can forge an economic partnership to better serve common interests.

 

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