Pakistan agrees to take part in Saudi-led drill

Published: February 16, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday confirmed its participation in a ‘multi-national exercise’ on counter-terrorism being held in Saudi Arabia a day after Riyadh announced that it was holding ‘largest, most important military maneuvers’ ever staged in the region.

In a statement the Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said given Pakistan and Saudi Arabia’s close fraternal ties, the two countries have cooperated in the field of defence for the past many decades.

Pakistan included in Saudi Arabia’s 34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism

“This includes military exercises and intense training cooperation in various domains. Both countries have training exchanges in which trainers are sent to Saudi Arabia for multiple training areas and Saudi Armed Forces personnel also receive training in Pakistan,” Zakria explained.

He said it was against this backdrop that Pakistan was participating in a multi-national exercise on counter-terrorism in Saudi Arabia. “A small Pakistani defence contingent also remains stationed in Saudi Arabia under a bilateral arrangement,” Zakria added.

On Sunday, a Saudi Press News Agency (SPA) statement  claimed that troops from around 20 countries, including Pakistan, were gathering in northern Saudi Arabia for “the largest, most important military maneuvres” ever staged in the region.

The exercise involving ground, air, and naval forces sends a “clear message” that Riyadh and its allies “stand united in confronting all challenges and preserving peace and stability in the region”, SPA said.

Among them are Saudi Arabia’s five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal and Tunisia.

The development came after Saudi Arabia last week announced that it was ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight Daesh. In December, the Saudi Arabia formed a 34-member coalition of likeminded countries from the Islamic world to fight terrorism.

Pakistan after initial confusion agreed to join the coalition but it insisted that the scope of its participation was yet to be decided.

Monday’s statement, nevertheless, shed some light on the level of Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi-led coalition.

How can Pakistan be an effective mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran

A military official insisted that Pakistan’s participation in the exercise was not aimed at against any country. He made it clear that Pakistan will not take part in any activity that destabilises Syria or any other country.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Feb 16, 2016 - 9:20AM

    As long as it’s a drill… But then ‘all’s well that ends well.’ Remember Iran and China have a contiguous border with us. Saudia is separated by the Persian Gulf. SalamsRecommend

  • SuperNeo
    Feb 16, 2016 - 9:21AM

    As if they had option to say no to KSA.Recommend

  • Sonya
    Feb 16, 2016 - 9:47AM

    Analysts say Russia will have no choice but to use Tactical (Battlefield) Nuclear Weapons to defend Syria once a ground invasion begins within 18 days, by 350,000 troops, 20,000 Tanks, 2,450 military planes and 460 Helicopters from 25 countries massing in northern Saudi Arabia. Pakistan must be very very careful.Recommend

  • Asif
    Feb 16, 2016 - 9:51AM

    Don’t go too far with them that coming back becomes impossible. Our “fraternal ties” mean different to them. Recommend

  • Mamu
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:10AM

    They all know who has the biggest and mightiest army.Recommend

  • Desendant of Ibrahim
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:25AM

    Now we are sending forces for Syria, while our own country’s educational institutes lies under the category of “Aimed Threads”
    Amazing how we all live in the illusion of security…Recommend

  • ShamelessPakistanis
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:40AM

    And another mistake done by Pakistan. Recommend

  • abu waleed
    Feb 16, 2016 - 11:05AM

    The Saudis have trusted the “‘largest, most important military maneuvers ever staged in the region” to a 30-year old prince and his mercenary army. Right….that makes sense, I guess.Recommend

  • Qamber
    Feb 16, 2016 - 12:39PM

    Mr. Shareef…! Its Pakistan Army not your own do not throw it in any sectarian war with KSARecommend

  • Methamphetamine
    Feb 16, 2016 - 1:11PM

    Cool as long as it’s a military drill. I can only hope Pakistan doesn’t align itself and run into a Syrian invasion. Even the lord himself can not save Pakistan from the claws of Russian bear else.Recommend

  • shayan
    Feb 16, 2016 - 1:12PM

    I think we should not let ourselves be used as puppets of the Saudis but should instead focus on our own country.Its not our concern about whatever is going around the world,we shall focus on our nation and our ties with our neighbours(China and Iran).China is investing such a big amount in our country and surely will be looking for a return.So we must look at our steps before taking them in order to avoid any further problems in the future.Recommend

  • Phobias
    Feb 16, 2016 - 1:44PM

    @Sonya:
    Phobias are not a reflection of a sound mind.Recommend

  • Saad Q
    Feb 16, 2016 - 2:20PM

    The Great Islamic War Machine is on a roll now. The world will sit up and take notice.Recommend

  • Feb 16, 2016 - 2:43PM

    Its very unfortunate. Pakistan fought for others for last 30 years and many Pakistanis died in these wars.Recommend

  • Neutrality
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:03PM

    Neutrality advised Machiavelli is inexpedient. Align with the weak or the possibility of the stronger becoming a victor shall increase and then the neutral nation would be next target. Or align with the stronger one to share the spoils after victory is achieved.
    Aside, from Machiavellian approach, neutrality is immoral as one side must have more of a morality on its side.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:27PM

    “Pakistan agrees to take…”
    Agrees? As if it has a choice. Its call of masters.Recommend

  • Islamic Thekedar
    Feb 16, 2016 - 4:59PM

    @Qamber:
    “Mr. Shareef…! Its Pakistan Army not your own do not throw it in any sectarian war with KSA”
    Really Mr. Sharif, the PM, can take such a decision. To take this decision another Sharif is required.Recommend

  • Wordl War
    Feb 16, 2016 - 5:05PM

    @Sonya:
    If Saudi let forces succeed in toppling the tyrant Assad whose regime has killed more than a quarter million people with the help of Iran and Russia, it should be in the fitness of things.
    However, if they are defeated with the tactical nuclear weapons that that Russians might use, it would lead to very long, protracted polarized world war and it is hoped that the side has morality on its side wins.
    However, no way morality is on the side of the butcher Assad.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:04PM

    Pakistan should support Saudia, as if saudia callapse iran will be like USA after Sovet Union in the region & Pakistan then will have no choice but to surrender to radaclist iranian forces.Recommend

  • bogus
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:22PM

    @Sonya: When you get tired of visiting conspiracy theory websites take a few moments and grab a map .. Saudi Arabia doesn’t share a border with Syria.Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Feb 16, 2016 - 11:25PM

    Saudi’s have bought nothing but troubles for Pakistan since the Afghan war in 80’s and exporting twisted form of Islam to Pakistan and rest of the world.

    Pakistan would had been better served without mingling with the Saudi’s on any matter exception being Haj & Umrah. Recommend

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