May 18: Somaliland Independence Day – Message from Islamabad
18 May, is the official national day of Somaliland when they celebrate their National Independence annually. The day commemorates when the main part of the territory declared its independence as the Republic of Somaliland on 18 May,1991, from rest the of Somalia. It regarded itself as the successor state to British Somaliland which was independent for some time in 1960.
After declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland formed its own hybrid system of governance consisting of a lower house of elected representatives, and an upper house which incorporated the elders of tribal clans.
Abderahman Ahmed Ali Tuur was the first president of the Republic of Somaliland and Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was appointed as Tuur’s successor in 1993. During the time there is a good improvement in security and stability of the country. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was reappointed in 1997 and remained President until his death on May 3, 2002. The Vice President Dahir Riyale Kahin shortly in 2003 became the first President of Somaliland elected in a Free and Fair Election. Somaliland made its final transition to multi-party democracy with elections in 2003.
Thus with the start of the Government by Dahir Riyaale Kahin various improvement taken place, which includes relations with Foreign countries and have established a Somaliland Embassy in Sweden and appointed/opened representative (liaison)/Trade offices in several countries Djibouti, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia , Turin, Italy , London, United Kingdom, Paris, France . Washington D.C., United States of America. And progressing to establish more in other countries including Pakistan.
The Republic of Somaliland has its own flag, national anthem, vehicle number plates, currency and established all Ministries offices working with good governance .
The main export is livestock, with sheep and camels being shipped from Berbera, the country’s largest port. During our visit in November 2009 we personally visited the Berbera port where we witnessed the boarding of livestock for departure to other countries including Saudia Arabia .
I also met a British National who was staying in a hotel at Berbera Port since a long and exploring the sea and on asking that how he find Somaliland, and I remember he was very happy to receive a Pakistani and said it is indeed a very peaceful country. I further asked him that why the Britain’s not recognizing the Republic of Somaliland? and replied that UK will be the second country to recognized the Republic of Somaliland , after any country step forward to recognized Somaliland as a first country. This was promise between us. He seems very enthusiastic and happy.
The currency of Somaliland shilling regulated by the Bank of Somaliland which was established constitutionally in 1994.
The current foreign policy of Somaliland is to try to secure international recognition as a sovereign, stable country, so that international aid can be more readily secured.
A fact finding mission led by African Union which visited The Republic of Somaliland early 2005 published a report that strongly recommended favorable consideration for recognizing Somliland’s independence. And on the Independence day of the Republic of Somaliland I request the United Nations , African Union and the Pakistani Government to look at the example of Eritrea and the fact that Eritrea successfully broke away from Ethiopia and became a recognized country and why not The Republic of Somaliland? The Right of the will of the Somaliland people should be fulfilled. All international and Humanitarian organization should step forward in recognizing this peaceful and stable country.
The Recognition of the Republic of Somaliland should be considered on top priority basis and without further delay.
I also request the Ambassadors of the Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Islamabad Pakistan to look closely this unresolved issue and request their respective Government to act now.
Somaliland’s claims to sovereignty rests on this former status. In addition to this, the fact that the rest of Somalia is in a state of chaos while Somaliland is under stable government also lends credence to its claim. This credit goes to the former and present ruling Government in making Somaliland stable, peaceful and progressing country.
I also request the Government of Pakistan to support us in establishing a Somaliland Trade Office in Islamabad Pakistan (already in process ) so that our goals achieved by trading and improving commercial relations for both Islamic countries. I also hope that Pakistani Government considered the Rights of Recognizing the Republic of Somaliland.
I congratulate to His Excellency Honorable President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, , His Excellency Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed A. Omar, and other Honorable Ministers and on behalf of Honorable Mr. Sheikh Mansoor Ahmed, Deputy Secretary General of the Pakistan Ruling Government for celebrating their National Independence day on 18 May.
In the end I pray from the Almighty Allah for real success of the President H.E Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo in achieving the targets of recognizing the Somaliland from the United Nations and the rest of the world during his tenure. I also pray for the shaheed Somalilanders and the Government officials who gave their life while struggling for their beloved country (Ameen) . I also salute to the Arm forces of the Republic of Somaliland who are defending their country from any type of threat or aggression using their own small resources. And of course they have the ability to meet all challenges. I can see that the day is not far away when Republic of Somaliland not only will be a Recognized country but also set example of peace and stability for other countries. I also look forward to visit the Republic of Somaliland again to meet the business community and other Government officials to start the trade between the two bortherly Islamic countries.
Shafiq Ahmed Qureshi
Director (Diplomatic Affairs and PR)