Pakistan will not be part of any Saudi military alliance

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will not send ground troops as part of Saudi led military alliance, Sartaj Aziz adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security.

On Tuesday, he said that Pakistan is not going to send any ground troops to Saudi Arabia or any of the other country because of the fact that it had join the 34 state Islamic military alliances with was led by Saudi Arabia.

All matters between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been settled, he said while briefing to the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee at the Parliament House.

Moreover, Pakistan will be sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia to counter terrorism.

Pakistan found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics last month, as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed 34 nation military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

The Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. The headquarters of the new Saudi led coalition would be based in Riyadh.

The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of the coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre.

It is unclear how Riyadh went ahead with announcing Pakistan’s participation in the new alliance. It is also difficult to speculate if Islamabad will change its policy because of its close ties with the kingdom.

Iran has led military efforts along with the Iraqi army and volunteers in the fight against IS in Iraq. The US led alliance has been supporting the ground operations against IS with their air strikes.

Recently, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Muhammad Bin Salman assured him of Pakistan’s support if any threat arises to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity.

The prime minister welcomed the Saudi initiative to establish a coalition of likeminded Islamic countries to counter terrorism and militancy and informed the deputy crown prince that Pakistan supports all efforts to counter terrorism and extremism.

The COAS said that Pakistan enjoys close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and attaches great importance to their security.

According to ISPR, Saudi Defense Minister also expressed similar thoughts and also appreciated Pakistan’s armed forces over their successes in fight against terrorism.