Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s senior aide Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday that Pakistan will not send ground troops for the Saudi-led anti-terror alliance, Express News reported.
“Saudi Arabia has neither asked Pakistan for ground troops nor will Pakistan send any,” Aziz said, while speaking to media representatives.
“Sending our troops to any country is against our policy. Pakistan never sends its forces for any coalition apart from the United Nations,” the premier’s top aide added.
However, the adviser said that Pakistan will keep on sharing intelligence and send arms and ammunition to the Kingdom whenever required.
The statement came following recent visits by Saudi defence minister and foreign minister to Islamabad to discuss Pakistan’s role in the coalition.
Pakistan on Sunday offered its ‘good offices’ to defuse tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran even as it supported the Saudi initiative to establish a coalition of likeminded Islamic states to counter terrorism and extremism. The offer came from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who visited Islamabad as part of the kingdom’s efforts to seek Pakistan’s backing for the recently formed Saudi-led coalition.
Mohammad bin Salman, who was the second high-level official from Saudi Arabia to visit Pakistan in three days, also held talks with army chief General Raheel Sharif at the GHQ in Rawalpindi. Earlier in the week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir visited Islamabad.
The focus of the Saudi defence minister’s discussions both at the PM Office and GHQ was on securing Pakistan’s support for the Saudi move to cobble together a coalition of 34-nation Islamic countries as well as current tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In December, Foreign Office officials had said that Pakistan may have joined the Saudi Arabia-led 34-nation coalition against terrorism, but it will not support any move that destabilises Syria or strains Islamabad’s relationship with Tehran. According to the officials, the assurance came from the federal government during an in-camera session of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry attended the meeting presided over by committee chairperson Senator Nuzhat Sadiq.