Controversy rises over Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia

Parliamentarians say Pakistani troops may be used in Saudi-led war in Yemen

Controversy rises over Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistan’s decision to send its troops to Saudi Arabia for “advisory and training” purposes has sparked controversy, with some fearing that the troops might be used in the Saudi-led war against pro-Iran Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Although the army insists that the unspecified number of troops being sent to Saudi Arabia under a longstanding bilateral agreement will be stationed within the kingdom, and will not be part of any armed conflict, several parliamentarians questioned the move, claiming it violates a parliamentary resolution that Islamabad will not be part of any conflict in the Middle East, particularly Yemen. 

The upper and lower houses -- Senate and National Assembly -- have asked the defense minister to appear before the parliament on Monday to explain the move, which follows a recent meeting in Riyadh between the country’s powerful army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdel Aziz.

The development also coincides with the culmination of a weeklong joint exercise between Pakistan’s Navy and the Saudi Royal Navy on Saturday in the Arabian Sea.

Though the army has not given the specific number of troops being sent to Saudi Arabia, opposition Senator Farhatullah Babar claimed in his speech during the Senate debate that a full division was being sent.

However, a senior military official, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said that slightly more than 1,000 troops were being sent to Saudi Arabia to join the already stationed more than 1,100 troops in the kingdom in line with a 1982 security protocol between the two sides.

Despite repeated attempts by Anadolu Agency, army spokesman Maj. Gen Asif Ghafoor was not available for comment.

Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2018, 12:28
Add Comment