Ex-servicemen ‘export’ mercenaries to the Middle East

Published: March 12, 2011
Bahrainis demonstrate in front of the UN headquarters in Manama as part of the anti-government protests since February 14. Pakistanis serving in Bahrain’s security forces have reportedly been involved in a crackdown on protestors. PHOTO: AFP

Bahrainis demonstrate in front of the UN headquarters in Manama as part of the anti-government protests since February 14. Pakistanis serving in Bahrain’s security forces have reportedly been involved in a crackdown on protestors. PHOTO: AFP


While the Fauji Foundation’s Overseas Employment Services is openly recruiting ex-servicemen for Bahrain’s security forces, it appears that it is not the only player in the field.

The practice of ‘exporting’ Pakistani security personnel to Bahrain has been going on for over 20 years, said a source, who named former Special Services Group officer Javed Latif Kahlon as the man responsible.

“Kahlon is based in Bahrain and enjoys strong ties with its military. He serves as a senior adviser,” said the source. “He left the Pakistan Army after being implicated in the Attock Conspiracy case. He has recruited at least 2,000 Pakistanis to serve in Bahrain’s security forces, and they were the ones who shot at protestors in Manama’s Pearl Square,” the source said, referring to a crackdown in the Bahraini city last month in which seven protestors were killed and hundreds injured.

Analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said Pakistan had been sending troops to other countries since the 1950s and 1960s. “The only variation now is that they (the army) don’t want to risk direct involvement,” she said.

Expatriate Pakistanis form a large part of the workforce in the Gulf countries, holding jobs as doctors, business executives and engineers as well as in the construction sector. Remittances from these expatriates are a crucial part of Pakistan’s economy. Additionally, aid from the region has helped build schools, hospitals and much-needed infrastructure in Pakistan.

Fahad Desmukh, a long-time Bahrain resident and former blogger, says the new recruitment of Pakistanis in the security forces “can only make life more difficult for those hard-working Pakistanis who have contributed to building Bahrain”. Many Bahrainis believe that Sunni Muslims are being recruited to change the Shia-majority demographic.

“On Wednesday, pro-democracy protesters at a rally were chanting ‘The police are Pakistani,’ highlighting the fact that they are viewed as mercenaries,” he said. “In the past, the presence of Pakistanis in the security forces has been the cause of xenophobia towards civilian Pakistani migrant workers, and the hiring of more could make the situation worse.”

Many Pakistanis serve in Bahrain’s anti-riot police, who have been accused by human rights activists of using excessive force.

“I don’t think the army is supporting this (recruitment) but they will want to keep their ties with the Middle East,” said Lt General (retired) Talat Masood.

Middle East and Gulf countries have well-established military ties with Pakistan.

In 1970, Jordan’s King Hussein launched a widespread crackdown on members of the Palestinian resistance movement. In what came to be known as Black September, thousands of Palestinians were killed and driven out of the country. Jordan’s army was assisted by a regiment led by then-Brigadier Ziaul Haq, who was stationed in the country. He was decorated for his services in the operation.

Pakistani troops assisted Saudi Arabia in the siege of Mecca in 1979. According to a 1991 Associated Press report, Pakistan deployed 13,000 troops and 6,000 advisers during the first Gulf War. Five thousand military personnel were stationed in Saudi Arabia prior to the war. When asked if Pakistani troops could be called out to stem protests in Saudi Arabia, Siddiqa said, “It is a possibility, but that cannot be confirmed.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (65)

  • Rizwan Akhtar
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:28AM

    I am sorry, Saba, but I don’t think the article was well-researched. Firstly, you depended on a single, un-named “source” and then the “expert opinion” was from Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, who is well-known for her criticism of the Army. Try getting an un-biased view of what is going on.

    Army personnel retire from service according to their rank. This means that many of them retire early, before people from other Govt services retire. It leaves them with very little options for rehabilitation into the civil society, especially if they are Infantry officers and men. The Army tries to absorb them into its welfare investments (that have been un-necessarily criticized by Dr. Siddiqa, being the few successful businesses surviving in our plummeting economy). Fauji Foundation plays an important role in this. Its recruitment offices arrange jobs for armed forces and civilians in many parts of the world. Invariably, individuals with skills are given jobs according to their capabilities. May I remind you that the Army is producing thousands of Doctors, Engineers, Logisticians, Nurses, etc every year.

    The term, ‘mercenaries’ has been grossly misused with the intent of dramatizing the factual position. These individuals are recruited as part of the regular security forces. They are not being used as any sheikh’s private army. The primary reason for recruitment of foreigners is the fact that the locals are very wealthy and hence do not like jobs that involve physical hardships. I am sure you are aware of the huge labour force that is employed in these countries from abroad. This trend is followed in many countries of the Middle-East including UAE. Interestingly, the UAE Police force consists of many nationalities including Indians, Sri-Lankans, Bengalis and even Europeans.

    Besides all the negative aspects that have been presumably engraved in your mind by the likes of Dr Siddiqa, the Army has remained involved in many UN sponsored deployments around the world and is greatly respected for its professionalism. It has also contributed greatly in humanitarian assistance in various natural disasters inside Pakistan and abroad.

    My request to you is to get your facts straight and my advice to you is to always try to get the view points of all sides involved. This is the hallmark of good, professional journalism.


  • Shahnaz
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:42AM

    Before writing such articles one needs to check the facts first. Just on getting a bit of blured information or having received the waves in the losse ears and jumping to the conclusion is against the normal norms of journalism.

    It must not be kept oversight that since mid 70s our biggest dependency is on remittances though for our political and vested interests we keep chaning our stance on that. For example two weeks back Fouzia Wahab an active from the “Bay Gharat Brigade” (If it exists, because if Ayaz Amir and alike say “Gharat Brigade, then there must be a Bay Gharat Brigade” in the hurriedly called Press Conference on Raymond Davis case amongst other things said that Pakistan should not forget that 80% of remittances were coming from USA. It was totally wrong but lies and day light lies from our present day rulers does not surprise anyone. Very next day the State Bank of Pakistan report under the Governorship of Fouzia Wahab’s own party issued a report which stated 43% of remittances were from UAE etc.

    Hardly any month goes by when our minion rulers like as they say extrimists will be dealt with iron hand, tell the nation that government has concentrated on export of Pakistani manpower to middle east. One often reads claims from the middle east visiting Ministers that so and so MOU had been signed under which the foreign government will import so many thousands Pakistanis though that never happened. Pakistanis living in middle east know well that against the filed figures the Pakistani population in the middle east is gradtually decreasing.

    Like in other fields eg construction, raw labour etc the Middle East countries Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman etc have since early 40s recruited Pakistanis (from areas like Punjab, Balochistan from now called Pakistan). These states have in fact preferred Pakistanis. Pakistani Mutton here in Bahrain is available at Pak. Rs. 400 per kg which is about Rs. 550/- in Pakistan which today 70% of Pakistani population can not afford buying. If by depriving 70% Pakistani population of their own indigenous product we embark on earning a bit foreign exchange so we could meet and pay the fine imposed by Saudi authorities on PIA for carrying 180 dear one passengers in violation of rules then to cry on so called “export” of ex-servicemen which is also to bring foreign exchange back. The writer very cleverly forgot that “ex-servicemen” which mean already retired or presently un-employed. If we can officially export 2500 new doctors to Saudi Arabia and proudly announce it on TV repeatedly depriving the already suffering nation, then why to cry on a hundred or two getting unemployed getting employment in Bahrain. If we can allow bases in Jackobabad, no-man areas inside Sahala Police Academy even prohibited for our own Police senors, then why so much loud cries on just ordinary un-employed getting a job abroad. Give one similar advertisment in any Indian newspaper today, thousands and thousands would fly from there and no wonder knwong the circukstances the Indian government may wish even to export their trained in uniform personnel on their own travel expense. Recommend

  • Mazhar Khan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:43AM

    Crap!!! Recommend

  • ANUM
    Mar 12, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Dear Saba Bajee, if any one of your brother, father or relative failed in interviews, tests, hence this frustration then please tell me. My father is also working in Bahrain Police. He may be knowing Javed Latif Kahloon and may request for a kind consideration for your relative. He was not recruited by Fouji Foundation nor any other person. 25 years back he came to middle east in search of a job and joined this Department for a livelihood. My father is not doing any job to sit on heads of local population as some liberals like you may say but he is doing normal duties which he would had done had he been in Police in Pakistan. As the Bahraini companies import thousands of labourers, Saudi Government imports thousands from Pakistan for construction works, etc a few hundreds Pakistanis have also come in the same way.

    Dear Bajee, I am resident of Karachi. When I go my Dadi Amee home in Karachi, I can not go out alone. January 2010 when I was going Tariq Road with my Aunti in a rickshaw for some shopping before my return, my rickshaw was stopped by two motorcylists, one of them put a gun on my head asking my autni to extend her arm out so he could pull 6 gold bangles she was wearing. My aunti told him that remove the gun as she herself is removing the bangles and she handed those to him. Bajee this does not happen here because our Pakistanis who come in Police here perform their duties as per rule, law and disciplie for which the Bahrain Government is very strick. While in Pakistan the same very people would not be able to perform under their consience according to rule but according to wishes of Qaim Ali Shah or son of Zulfiqar Mirza.

    Bajee as a scool child I take it that I will personally go to each one of them who are now coming to Bahrain as you label them “miscenaries” and pled them to go back to Pakistan provided you give me a written Government guarantee that on return they would get confirmed jobs on one fith of the Bahraini deprived salary. I hope in the interest of Pakistan these Pakistanis will heed to the request of a young daughter. But Bajee would this written Government guarantee would not turn when they came back into “written words are words of Quran or Hadith”.

    Anum – BahrainRecommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Mar 12, 2011 - 12:32PM

    In UAE. specially Abu Dhabi during my stay for more than 12 years I only saw Pakistanis who worked on deputation both in the capacity of higher and lowest ranks. Yes, some took early retirement from Pakistani Army and came back not in the same rank but four ranks below. It is important to understand that there were not only Pakistani but many from Arab and African countries. The same was in Saudi Arabia and rest of the Gulf countries. Naming them as mercenaries is not wise. Yes, what took place in the period mentioned above in Jordan and Saudi Arabia was for the protection of the Royal Houses. I am sure there is no regular from our forces for the mission mentioned above. If someone is doing this dirty job on private basis and with retired personnel then stern action must be taken. Giving Shia or Sunni color with what took place in Bahrain is not good for the good relationships which our country enjoys with Iran (though with some reservations). We all must understand that right now all our pillars are not on the same page which is more disturbing for the unity and betterment of our country, specially the role being played by our Judiciary with the backing of some powerful in Punjab and our strongest “Pillar”.Recommend

  • Shah
    Mar 12, 2011 - 12:45PM

    Interesting article. Yes it is true that a lot of security forces personnel in Bahrain are sourced from Pakistan and a lot of them are granted citizenship for the purpose of changing the demographic make up of the country (bandargate report). This has reflected negatively on Pakistani professionals doctors, bankers, etc who were long time residents of Bahrain and have nothing to do with these recruited mercenaries.Recommend

  • Suffering Saudi
    Mar 12, 2011 - 1:14PM

    We have had enough of you! In Saudi Arabia you fight the Saudis in thier lively hood. You work in gangs and are the worst people at being grateful. In fact, many of you must belong to organized crime based on the way you behave in Saudi Arabia. We are not talking about all Pakistanis, but the ones who come to the gulf leach on it, become americans, canadians, and Europeans and then come back to the gulf in a much inflated form only to leach again !Recommend

  • Vandana
    Mar 12, 2011 - 1:53PM

    What this article relates is well known here in Bahrain.The Pakistani component of Bahrain’s defense forces is hated by many Bahrainis,especially the Shiites who are in majority here.Slogans and graffiti against Pakistanis is common.Because of this sometimes the Pakistani civilian expats also bear the brunt of the anger of the locals.And yes,Pakistanis in defense forces here have long benefited from secure jobs,free education,health care,housing….all the perks that come with getting citizenship:perks that are often denied to the Shia Bahrainis.this conflict here is not going to go away anytime soon and recruiting more Pakistanis will make life more fragile for Pakistani expat workforce..Recommend

  • Goga
    Mar 12, 2011 - 2:54PM

    wow had no idea pakistan had strategic assets in baharin…well done!Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:07PM

    @Rizwan Akhtar:

    I am not a big fan of our corrupt army. I will not generalizing it, but its true. At least it didn’t make problems for you, so you could say, Pak Army. But if you just put your feet in our people shoe, who suffered for more than 2.5 years (Parachinar roads were blocked: more than 400 small children died due to non availability of medicine, 4 of my family member killed by those so called talibans, some people killed themselves, because they couldn’t feed their family. More than 1 thousand people died when ever they tried to travel from parachinar to peshawar.) then you wouldn’t even consider them your army, yes but pigs. I am talking about the top officials of army not the normal soldiers. Our government is completely corrupt, army is corrupt. About fouji foundation, they are doing there jobs. But lets consider or even don’t consider as we are a dead nation, being of too much corruption watching it every day, target killing we still cannot come to streets against those corrupt leaders. But lets imagine, we come to street to knock off our leaders, and lets suppose, our country has less work force, so it recruits alot of arabs in its riot police and intelligence and they torture you all the time. What would be your feelings? Even though those arab would be still doing there jobs. So its the same thing with bahrainis, they are suffering from this issue, so they don’t want them there.

    And about the parachinar issue, Just go to parachinar, talk to the leaders who took part in that meeting to open the roads again and you would know who was actually there and what was their demand to block all roads from parachinar to peshawar.

    And those people who died while travelling through that blocked road, were women , children.

    If you wana discuss, don’t discuss this issue with me on terrorist level. Discuss on a broader level, who is supporting them and what is the strategic war around us and who is involved in this issue. It hurts man when your own government kills your own country men. Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:30PM

    One question why Pakistanis are not being given citizen ship in other gulf countries even one my cousin worked in dubai for over 25 years. Why in bahrain only? I belong to Pakistan, I love my country and my country men. But why to think of individualistic benefits from which our nation is suffering. If our country was in the same position as bahrain and there were similiar protests as bahrain, and if our country asked for work force for army, riot police and intelligence. I would be the first one on the street against my government and the people who are being brought here to kill our country men.

    Truth hurts.

    Pakistan zindabad.

  • Javed (Karachi)
    Mar 12, 2011 - 3:59PM

    Saba, I wonder why “experts” who helped you create this article did not give you any references to quote or perhaps they may have advised you to avoid due to absence of which this article academically is incomplete. If you may wish to complete your article then I may send you copies of published reports on (i) British Mercenaries (ii) Indian ex-servicemen Mercenaries going to Iraq etc.

    Please do not forget sending copy of your article to Ardeshir Cowasjee and most importantly to all-times Nazir Naji.Recommend

  • Mar 12, 2011 - 4:14PM

    It seems that everyone is more than happy that their fellow citizens are degraded and used to do the Arab elites dirty work. Are you all for real? How does this help Pakistan’s global image that at a time when Bahraini security forces are shooting protesters, Pakistan is and a military welfare organization no less is recruiting Pakistani’s to be shipped of! How is this any different than the dreaded XE and Blackwater who recruit contractors and send them to other countries to serve US interests? Recommend

  • abdulla
    Mar 12, 2011 - 4:17PM

    im bahraini, and im gonna tell u now that without the foreign pakistani and indian work force we would be nothing. everyone has benefited from them and if they werent there, they would not be a labor work force, since most bahrainis wouldnt allow themselfs to work the jobs they work. Even poor ppl demand jobs that they dont have the qualifications for. most of the ppl that are protesting for jobs dont have education, and dont accept jobs that they are capable of. the bahraini government provides free education till the grade 12, why dont they use it? most dont even attend school but live the lives of the “fireej” meaning streets. burning tires, attacking police and vandalizing bahrain. some riot police have been burned alive with Molotov’s. these attacks come from poor shee3a communities, if they are doing acts like this how can the government trust them to keep bahrain safe? or even let them enter the army? its a wide known fact that they would prefer that bahrain was part of iran, and they did mention that many times, that bahrain is actually part of iran and iran should occupy it. most shee3a religious are backed by iran. how could they government trust ppl with being in the army to defend bahrain when they themselfs want bahrain taken over by iran.Recommend

  • Mar 12, 2011 - 4:26PM

    Saba, not ignoring the spirit in which the article was written I must confess use of the word “Mercenary” is inappropriate in this context. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army/security appratus is not considered to be a mercenary although they get monetary reward from their service. French Foreign Legion and the Gurkha regiments of the British army are good examples. Gurkhas are nationals of Nepal but swear alliegiance to British Queen and considered to be one of the worlds best fighting forces. Recommend

  • Nadir El-Edroos
    Mar 12, 2011 - 4:27PM

    The definition of a mercenary is:

    A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict, who is not a national or a party to the conflict, and is “motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party” (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of August 1949

    How is? What are they doing anything different? Economic neccesity doesn’t justify it, neither does we have “brotherly relations” justify it. Actually, doesn’t the Pakistani constitution bar individuals from bearing arms for a foreign country?

    The UN is a totally different example as they are still in Pakistani flagged uniforms and they have both national and international sanction. Recommend

  • Kame
    Mar 12, 2011 - 5:25PM

    Dear Pakistanis kindly stop sending your people to government-Khalifa family in Bahrain because the Bahraini government kill for control of the small island.Recommend

  • Kamel
    Mar 12, 2011 - 5:26PM

    Dear Pakistanis to stop sending your children to government-Khalifa family in Bahrain because the Bahraini government kill for control of the small islandRecommend

  • Suhail Awan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 5:27PM

    Many of readers commented rightly and I will only say one thing that this is gross twisting of facts. The writer simply forgot the fact that as she has written this vague article, which is totally against ethics of right journalism, on desire of her paymaster, in same fashion every employee is bound to comply with the rules and orders of his/her employer and that is the case with all employees of Bahrain Govt. no matter from which country they are. By they way if the writer has ability to put herself into the shoes of expat workers, what will be her stance, if her father, husband or brother is jobless and gets job in Bahrain Police or Army???? Obviously she will be converting Bahraini Dinars into Pak Rupees along all her family members.Recommend

  • Ali Hassan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 5:57PM

    Saba, as a writer, I am sorry to say that your above article is an clear example of reckless journalism. I am sure you are aware that professional journalism entails verifying the information given by a source before putting your name and your newspaper’s name behind it. Your article today, seeing that you had already written about the subject yesterday, appears intended to do nothing but malign the reputation of an individual, Mr. Kahlon in the second paragraph.

    Although I would be interested to know how (that is presuming that you did – being a responsible journalist) verify the statement of your source that “they were the ones who shot at protestors in Manama’s Pearl Square”.

    It clearly appears that your source has some sort of an agenda against Mr. Kahlon and you seem to be assisting him.

    To a responsible newspaper and journalist, I would seriously advise a retraction of some sort in relation to your above article which appears to be intended to malign the reputation of an individual and nothing else. To your source, I would advise not to use your newspaper as a tool to further his/her personal grievances against Mr. Kahlon.

    Just a word of advice from one writer to another. Recommend

  • fatima ali
    Mar 12, 2011 - 6:13PM

    the article is 100% credibale,,, please stop sending your men to our country,, the only job they get is killing and killing and killing,, this ia against humanity,, we are all human beings,, your not supposed to live on our blood,,i’m a bahraini girl i can asure you that all pakistainies who come here are killing our children, men and women they use gas and guns to opress us,, Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed
    Mar 12, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @Rizwan Akhtar:
    UAE s armed forces nor the police employ non GCC nationals. There are a few Yemenis as an exception. Your reprimand to the author falls flat in the face of this simple well known fact.
    If you are harking back to the golden 70s we have no dispute with you.Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 12, 2011 - 6:52PM

    Well we Pakistanis have a problem. We never accept our mistakes? Never. Not even our leaders, neither us. The day we started understanding and accepting our mistakes will be the glorious day for this nation. How many of you agree with me?

    And yes for those who belong to bahrain or in support of khalifa family. They have the same issue of individualistic interest. For me, I don’t belong to 15th century. I don’t believe in kings, this is 21st century, so every nation has the full right to choose his leader whom they trust and expects that they would lead their country to prosperity.

    One thing more. I didn’t cast my vote and so my family to any leader from the last 20 years up to this day. I would be responsible if I elect any corrupt leader who will damage my country and my country men. Me and my family is happy for at least that they are not responsible for electing these corrupt leaders coz of which my nation is suffering.

    Pakistan best resource is its men power. The most hard working nation in the world. Just need a good leader, to put proper management and skills and put this country to glory.Recommend

  • Usman Khan
    Mar 12, 2011 - 7:01PM

    Saba, My father worked in Bahrain for Police in 1990s. Mr. Javed who recruited him, was a blessing for us. He is like an angel for us. My father retired from army and had no job. He worked as security guard in private company in Peshawar for six month but his pay was not sufficent to support our family. He sold his land to give money to an agent to send him to Dubai but the agent turned out to be a fraud and refused to return our money. We could not do anything as against the agent.

    At this time, my father heard from his army friend about Mr. Javed who takes people to Bahrain without any expenses. My father did not believe it given his past experience but went to see Mr. Javed anyway. Mr. Javed did not take any money from him and took my father to Bahrain. My father could not believe it. My father stayed in Bahrain for ten years in which time he supported my education (I am now engineer from UET peshawar) and married my sister. My father now enjoys happy retired life. This would not have been possible without people like Mr. Javed who still help their fellow pakistanis rather than feed on them like our politicians.

    I am sure there are many others with stories like my father. But you will not have researched that. If you do, you will come across many stories showing the difference jobs in the middleast have made to our family and how people like Mr. Javed are so rare given the thieves running around our country. We need to have promote people like him who have helped so many people. Your source in your article clearly wants to spoil his reputation, but reading your article, my conscience required me to narrate my family’s experience so reader is aware of my story as well.

    I request you to tell the full story and not one version.Recommend

  • Pascal
    Mar 12, 2011 - 8:36PM

    @Bangash: “For me, I don’t belong to 15th century. I don’t believe in kings, this is 21st century, so every nation has the full right to choose his leader whom they trust and expects that they would lead their country to prosperity.”

    Very well said!Recommend

  • Atif
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:46PM

    biased anti army article!
    grow up driftersRecommend

  • Atif
    Mar 12, 2011 - 11:49PM

    @Nadir: where do you live man, Uk perhaps- yet you have problem with others going to Middleeast for jobs. Hypocrisy is the tune my fellow embedded in your hate for the army.Recommend

  • Adeel Khan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:50AM

    So, if a retired army man gets a good job and provides for his family, gives him the license to shoot protestors?

    Can anyone who wants us to see the positive side because of this or that reason tell us, if their father or uncle or whoever working for the Bahraini security forces have or would refuse to shoot at an unarmed crowd of Bahrainis? Of course, they won’t. They kill because they are paid for it. That is the simplest definition of a mercenary. or as Faraz would say, Pesha war qatil!Recommend

  • Gulkhaiz
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:54AM

    I am proud of my ex servicemen, and there is nothing wrong if they are being hired by foreign countries.While there are approx 6-7lacs plus ex servicemen,and every year the figure is increasing. What should they do to earn decent living? Should they rob ?
    As a result we want organisations like Fauji foundation /AWT to further expand their operations to cater for expanding needs of the retired personnel. Generally the criticism on armed forces is more of an intellectual fashion,rather than a fact based analysis. Critics deliberately gun down projects which are successfully managed by the armed forces. They just do not know that 65-75% of the manpower of the Fauji foundation?AWT projects are civilians.In fact Ex servicemen are a pool of excellent , trained and discipled manpower and are sought by good organisations, all over the world. So what is the big deal if Bahrain has hired them.Further more they have been hired to fight for the Govt of Bahrain and not protestors..
    Moreover why are we so concerned about Bahrain. They are competent people and can look after themselves.Lets concentrate on our own affairs.
    . Recommend

  • Raza
    Mar 13, 2011 - 1:42AM

    What a poorly researched biased article. Depriving people of Pakistan from access to health by the export of qualified doctors from Pakistan (who by the way get subsidy on their education is Okay) but if a retired Pakistani soldier gets employed in a proper police force or army that equates to being a mercenary. Recommend

  • Omar Khayyam
    Mar 13, 2011 - 7:32AM

    @ Rizwan Akhtar
    “May I remind you that the Army is producing thousands of Doctors, Engineers, Logisticians, Nurses, etc every year.”

    Every year? So where are they and since you are asking for a well researched article from the author, lets see evidence to support your claim!Recommend

  • Usman Khan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 12:40PM

    @Adeel Khan:
    I think your information about these protestors being unarmed in incorrect. Just youtube it and you will see the knives, swords and other weapons recovered from these so called peaceful protestors. Lets not believe the propoganda that we see and hear. None of us was on the ground so before we start describing things as facts we should look at the full picture. These innocent protestors use molotov chocktails to burn police cars and kill innocent people. All on you tube. Just a couple of click away if you want to see the full story.

    Simple idea. Please go to where the recruitment is taking place and speak to the people queing up to go. Listen to their stories and try and convince them not to go. I am sure everyone working in middle east would want to come back if there were opportunities in Pakistan. Until then, i think you will find it difficult to convince them to not go.

    Unfortunate fact is these people probably think they will be safer with their families in Bahrain than in Pakistan. They will be treated better by leaders of a foreign land than their own leaders. Sad but true.Recommend

  • Javed
    Mar 13, 2011 - 2:28PM

    I had always taken the name Aysha Siddiqa with respect and read her articles with interest though I always felt there is something pecular that she is from amongst a Brigade lead by former Army personnel Ayaz Amir, Irfan Hussain etc who one way or the other never find any good in the Pakistan Army. They always wish and try to convince army size should be reduced, budget should but cut etc but also invariably ignore mention of “India” on such writes ups. However reading this article all my respect for this lady has gone.

    If the learned senior Aysha Siddiqa and Saba Imtiam have real conscious and bit judicial journalistic honesty, would these also apprise the readers of this esteem that how many are the Indian “mercenaries” in this Bahrain Police Force, exclude Jordanians, Syrians, Srilankans, British etc. Perhaps mentioning of Indians in this so called “Mercenaries” Bahrain Police Force will burn the feets of these ane their elders Ayaz Amir. Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 3:45PM

    I am sorry but your unfounded hatred for the army has degraded your thoughts to a few incoherent lines. When I wrote Pak Army, I meant Pakistan Army so your abusing of the army should not be related to the word Pak derived from Pakistan. The Parachinar situation is a direct result of political failure – The inability of our elders to sit together and resolve their differences. We keep on fighting amongst each other for generations. We fight on everything from water, land, women, money, leadership, honor and even goats. And we also fight in the name of Islam, without knowing anything about the religion. To make matters worse, we are proud of the fact that everyone of us carries unlicensed weapons and we display them. Mr. Bangash, I guess what I am saying may sound very close to the kind of society that you are used to. Now let me explain something about the Army – It consists of people (volunteers) belonging to all parts of the country. It consists of all sects proportionately derived from the society. It even includes Non-Muslims. In spite of all these differences, it manages to maintain discipline and can act as a coherent force in times of need for the country. How can you criticize the army when you cannot sit at a meal with your neighboring tribe without the display of 100 klashinkovs? Do you want to know what corruption is? Check the hundreds of hospitals and schools that have been made on paper only. Don’t you think they have resulted in hundreds of deaths? Lack of education has created excellent breeding grounds for Taliban. Was it the army’s responsibility to get schools constructed and hospitals built in your area? It is not even the army’s job to ensure security in your region. The army is doing it because of a complete failure of politicians, the police and because the provincial govt asked for assistance. The army would rather sit at the border!!!Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 3:56PM

    @Nadir El-Edroos:
    Oh, but they do have sanction:
    1. They have been given Bahraini nationality by the Govt of Bahrain
    2. They are acting within their jurisdiction.
    3. Their Govt is responsible for their actions.
    4. Their origin is immaterial, as is the case for thousands of Indian, Pakistani, etc origin people fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq for the US Armed Forces.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 4:01PM

    @Musthaq Ahmed:
    You are right, the last Pakistanis retired from police service in mid-90s, although Indians continued till around 2005. After that, the UAE Police officers were sent to NUML, Islamabad for learning Urdu and Pashto.

    However, my argument to the author was not based on this single point!Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 4:07PM

    Not casting a vote is like silently endorsing the corruption. You should cast a vote against the corrupt.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 4:13PM

    Look at the way we are all arguing over this article. Check out the author’s other article on the same issue and read the comments beneath it.


  • Rizwan
    Mar 13, 2011 - 4:23PM

    @Omar Khayyam:
    On the average 1000 officers pass out every year from the Military Academy. An average of 120 are Doctors from Army Medical College. Engineers including Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Telecommunications, Software, etc are over 300. The number of logisticians is based on the people who qualify various logistics and supply courses, easily over 200 every year. The nurses graduate from armed forces nursing school. Every year at least 100 qualify besides the numerous male nurses that are at least three times the female nurses. Check your facts, bro!Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Mar 13, 2011 - 4:34PM

    The author needs to get educated in reference of the term security-staff and mercenary.

    Furthermore, a person legally employed by any security or other firm does not become a mercenary. I am in UAE, private security staff mainly comprise of Pakistani, Indians, Nepali, Filpino, Arabs (from other countries) and Africans. If your definition of mercenary is true, every country in the world is supplying mercenaries to UAE.

    This article is stupid, biased and a childish effort to malign Pakistan. This whole article is an imaginary story.

    After reading this article, I seriously doubt policies and point of view of Express tribune. What is the aim of the author?Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 13, 2011 - 9:13PM


    Mr Rizwan. First of All Kurram Agency has the highest literacy rate than any other tribal area. Our people has put down kalashinkovs before 90s with the help of government to ban showing off weapons.

    Do you know zia ul haq has ordered many times to diminish the existence of people living in parachinar?

    Do you know during the peace jirga now and before, who we had in the meeting. Taliban, our tribal leaders, other tribes leaders and your army. Does it make sense?

    Do you know when our tribes men (Turi) went on hunting talibans and removed them from almost 85 % of kurram agency. A clean sweep. Then from the middle of no where your Rehman Malik came and said, you should stop fighting or we will do shelling on you. Our people said you are fighting taliban and so are we. When we needed you, you didnt came for help us to remove these talibans. And now we have removed them, now you are threatning us to do shelling on our people. Yep it was warning and our people left all the captured places back and taliban came back here. So who is involved?

    My cousin was shot dead by army helicopter. He was 12 and he went outside to find his brother during curfew. Is this Army or butchers? Can’t see 12 year old kid.

    The sectarian violence in Kurram agency had been started many times by army soldiers in civilian clothes and they were caught.About our Tribes culture, Its crap, I know this. But what I have analyzed is that, Government has no power to Army. Its Army who controls the strategic war with in and abroad. And about Pak, I didn’t put it in hatred, but rather Pakistan nation always call them Pak Army isn’t it?

    So at the end I can’t type more. I wish if we could sit some where and discussed this issue in detail.

    I lost many of my family members in this conflict. You didn’t so you don’t know how it feels.

    And about the government, I don’t trust them even 0.000000000000000000000001 %. They are all raddishes from the same garden.Recommend

  • saad
    Mar 13, 2011 - 9:47PM

    Arabs are like our brothers and they respect us to the core as we have historical and cultural relationship with them, this is not a well researched articleRecommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 13, 2011 - 9:55PM


    Casting vote against corrupt? Writing blogs against our corrupt leader. Our nation is sleeping, my blog can’t wake them up. We talk every day about them, but in practice we don’t do anything. Even the media is shouting every day about this corrupt regime. I didn’t see any one on the streets. Be the first in protest, I will follow you.

    All our leaders are radishes from the same garden.

    And for your comment about kurram agency. I wrote a whole big reply, i uploaded it and internet got disconnected. I hope it would be uploaded there, and waiting for approval.

    But Pak Army is the term used by every Pakistani. So I didn’t say Pak Army in term of my hatred. Yes I hate Army, its my personal opinion (I lost many of my family members and country men just coz of them and I have the solid proofs), and you can’t change it. I hope you get my that comment. It would clarify things to you.

    I would rather not type any more. But I hope if we meet some where, and we can discuss and analyse this issue in detail with solid proofs.

    One last comment. I lost my cousin who was 12 and was living in parachinar. During war there, there had been a curfew. He went outside to find his brother, coz he didn’t return for 4 hours. A helicopter came and did shelling on him. He died on the same spot. I will understand Army takes order, but i think those are not robotic armies. They will have a heart to see if he can kill that 12 year old kid.Recommend

  • Yousaf
    Mar 14, 2011 - 12:45PM

    and Miss Saba is Grilled… Crucified.. !

    Even if the Army is serving the gulf, they have been paid for their services and governments have the every right to recruit them.

    It’s not Pakistanis fault. Recommend

  • Mango Man
    Mar 14, 2011 - 1:10PM

    So tell me the difference between Pakistanis in Baharain and Raymond Davis – both go to other countries to shoot locals. So how are Pakis in Baharain anyway holier than RD? Stop cribbing and get real! Pak is a failed state that needs foreign dollars to survice, be it from Baharain or from US! Deal with it and quit your conspiracy theories! Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 14, 2011 - 2:47PM

    Saba! your mentor has wrongly directed you to create void between the army and the public. Back in the 90s the army gave her the place of an analyst and hoped that her analysis would be objective. Unfortunately with lack of emotional intelligence she began stepping on the army’s
    toes; And stepping on anybody’s toes is very bad idea. Just as you have done now Ouch!Recommend

  • Lala
    Mar 14, 2011 - 4:25PM

    @Mango Man: Your comments smell worst then your own crap! SHUT UP! Recommend

  • Lala
    Mar 14, 2011 - 4:50PM

    Congratulations Saba Imtiaz!! You have won the top prize for spewing as much hate for the Pakistan Army as your mentor! Recommend

  • Mango Man
    Mar 14, 2011 - 9:15PM

    @ Lala:Truth hurts! You know when you can look at yourself in the mirror! Recommend

  • Lala
    Mar 14, 2011 - 10:21PM

    @Mango Man: Typical Indian rant!! Go get some help.Recommend

  • Umar
    Mar 14, 2011 - 11:28PM

    Most of the comments here seem to take sides. It is more of a social issue than anything else. Lack of opportunities for ex-servicemen or general public is a problem in our country. Many of us look and find jobs in Middle East both in civilian and military sectors. Middle East is unfortunately ruled by dictators labeled as presidents or kings. So those people who take military jobs end up working for a dictator. It was all good when they are fighting crime or a foreign invasion. It becomes complicated when you are told to fire on unarmed civilians asking for Democracy. And it is sad that the person who is firing and killing because he is in a uniform and is paid to obey orders has a family to feed and is otherwise a law abiding citizen of both his own and adopted country, but so is that person you are firing upon and killing. It is his homeland and is asking for a right to vote. We all got flared up at Raymond Davis case, drone strikes and attempts to SECURE our nuclear weapons. Wouldn’t it be nice to have decent jobs here at home and our Arab brothers and sisters enjoying democracy as well without the threat of legally entered and employed foreign born soldiers shooting at you. I am sure we would not like soldiers born and raised in a foreign country shooting people in our capital because they have families overseas to feed. May God help both us and our brethren in the Middle East. Recommend

  • Bilal Javed
    Mar 15, 2011 - 12:40AM

    @ Mango man …. you are saying that Indians will not accept a similar paid position if it was offered to them! …. get real man
    if it wasnt pakistanis it would be indians or bagladeshisRecommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Mar 15, 2011 - 6:15AM

    It is great to read these comments. Most of them confuse earning a living with morality. The fact of the matter is that a mercenary will not think twice about shooting a civilian because he knows he will collect his money and leave the country when his contract ends. A local will find it very hard to pull a trigger on his compatriots because after the war finishes he would have to live amongst the very people he shot. This is the main reason why Jordan used Pakistani mercenaries on the Palestinians and now Qaddafi is using African mercenaries in Libya. This is also the main reason why Bahraini royal family prefers to use mercenaries to shoot the protesters rather than locals. The Bahraini royal family does not care which country supplies the mercenaries as long as they can shoot straight and agree to the rate offered. If it wasn’t the Pakistanis it would be mercenaries from another country. For each nationality their is always a price.

    @Bangash — I completely agree with you bro.
    @Rizwan —- Please don’t advice Bangash on how the Tribals from FATA should have led their lives. We all know for a fact that it was the Pakistani army and the intelligence agencies that set up the Taliban and AlQaeda in the Tribal areas to fight wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir. I cannot believe you are now lecturing Bangash on how the army is “cleaning up” FATA. That is complete BS….The army is cleaning up the mess that it created and destroyed the lives of thousands of tribes people. And even the present cleanup is not done properly because you are still working on the good vs. the bad talibans. One day the truth of the double game in FATA will come out and I hope to God that all the people responsible are hung from the trees the same way that Najibullah in Kabul was hung.Recommend

  • Mango Man
    Mar 15, 2011 - 1:38PM

    @ Lala : when you have one rule for outsiders and another rule for your selves, you are called Two-faced. You wont know whom you are seeing in the mirror! Recommend

  • Mango Man
    Mar 15, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @ Lala : Read for yourself! Go through the comments written by Javed and the rest in this newspapers web site!


    ET: you are only hurting the cause by suppressing facts. Recommend

  • Faraz
    Mar 15, 2011 - 9:34PM

    @Khalid Rahim:

    you mean they wanted her to tow the official line, that’s hardly “objective”Recommend

  • Huma
    Mar 17, 2011 - 4:23PM

    This is the same question I asked your fellow writer that I ask you. I hope you have an answer sister.

    There are people in the army and police that weren’t hired via any FOUNDATIONS. There could be some coming here on recommendations or your so called FOUNDATIONS. My question to you is that. IS THE PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT COMPETENT ENOUGH TO PRODUCE JOBS, PROVIDE ATLEAST AVERAGE HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, SECURITY FACILITIES ?????? APART FROM BEING BUSY IN ENJOYING THEIR LIVES IN FINE WINES AND EXCELLENT FOOD AND HOMES. have they ever EXPERIENCED the trauma of not knowing how to keep their child alive since they dont have money for food or health? Have they ever EXPERIENCED sleeping without food, without water, without electricity, without being frustrated, without being harrassed, without the critical law and order situation. The President was imprisoned for so many years. I wish if that is imprisonment, Please ask them to imprison most of the pakistanis so atleast they have AVERAGE standards of living.
    Easier said than done, haah !! Thank-you to all the governments of Pakistan. I cant comment on this but I wonder how it would be to stand ANSWERABLE FOR 16 MILLION people on the DAY OF JUDGEMENT, I mean if they BELIEVE THEY WOULD BE.Recommend

  • Huma
    Mar 17, 2011 - 4:32PM

    Oh I dont know where my earlier comment went but just to add something speaking of bankers and business man. Well, if they think that if the Pakistanis in the security forces in Bahrain are really a threat to their jobs and lives, why not spend some of your BIG TIME MONEY in helping to produce jobs for them or do something about it, rather than cowardly sitting and thinking about their own jobs and fear of losing their own high standard lifestyles. Recommend

  • glen toby
    Mar 18, 2011 - 2:26AM

    The situation throughout the Middle East is a concern for all who reside or work in the region.Long held grudges are surfacing amongst different religious and ethnic groups and different nationalities.
    These seemingly minor disputes appear to be overlooked by the UN and Western Governments in particular.However as can be gleaned from the various reactions to the original article the depth of feeling amongst the various groups is apparent.
    Bahrain like other Arab states cannot afford to let “foreigners” have a de-stabilising effect on the indiginous population.Whilst some actions by “mercenary” employees can be fairly described as brutal it is necessary to look beyond the term mercenary when used in relation to national security of Bahrain.
    Much of the difficulties faced by the rulers of the country are being and going to be caused by conflict within the security forces amongst the different groups mentioned.It is easy to point the finger of blame at the government and miss the obvious fact that the Government has first and foremost to protect its borders and the indiginous population.
    They are in a very difficult situation and regardless of your view of your rulers they require the support of the people of Bahrain,failure to give that support only exacerbates the difficulties of having a trustworthy and reliable security force.Only by giving support and ensuring a secure country can you begin to resolve differences between your leaders and ordinary citizens.
    I cant tell ordinary citizens or the rulers how to run the country but I would suggest that a neutral security force to oversee the present arrangements would be beneficial in keeping the peace.

    To this end the most obvious solution would be UN personnel from countries other than those that have an axe to grind already employed.Other than that the employment of former Ghurka soldiers or indeed European soldiers would benefit Bahrain in the long term.Obviously with strict terms of reference and no scope to become involved in any armed conflict,merely supervisors but with the authority to enforce regulations amongst the present serving personnel.

    The term mercenary conjures up images of soldiers paid to fight in a conflict,however there are many former regulars like myself who would rather be involved in assisting in resolving situations peacefully,respectful of the laws and wishes of the government and people of the country involved.

    I hope Bahrain and other Arab countries can resolve their problems without outside interference.The British army has long worked for and on behalf of many Arab countries and I hope that we are friends and not foes despite political interference from our governments in the West.I have no political or religious bias and wish solely to see Arab countries where fairness and prosperity are the norm for everyone.

    I have experienced the generosity and courtesy of the Arab nation and I wish you well whatever country you may be from.It would do no harm if our Indian and Pakistani colleagues amongst others would set aside their differences and concentrate on securing stability in the country which has welcomed them and sustained them.They can then debate in a calm and congenial manner in the way their hosts have done for centuries,your future in Bahrain is in your own hands.

    It is up to you collectively and individually to support your adopted country,a small step in the right direction would be to stop using inflamatory language e.g mercenary.Not every private soldier wants to be in conflict for payment but payment for supporting the security and prosperity of the nation should be acceptable.

    I wish you all well and trust the future will be peaceful and prosperous for all.Recommend

  • Asif Fahim
    Mar 18, 2011 - 8:47PM

    You are the one who has made life difficult for the Pakistanis living there. You have only inflamed the situation further by writing this article. This is what I call lazy journalism. The so called “peaceful” protestors are targeting poor Pakistani laborers who have nothing to do with all this. Pathetic.Recommend

  • I.Williams
    Mar 22, 2011 - 8:48PM

    If u need ex troops to fight give me a call i am a marksman and had served 4 12 yearsRecommend

  • Hammad
    Mar 25, 2011 - 1:33PM

    I just arrived from Bahrain, its a shame what is being reported in our newspapers and media is not the reality. Our news papers and media is more inclined towards reporting fiction and not facts.

    @Shahnaz: the Pakistani mutton is Rs400 in Bahrain because bahrain govt gives subsidy not only on mutton but also oranges and on other imports.

    Pakistanis have played a very important role in Bahrain and in middle east, but now we are just reduced to forces, thou we are also contributing in other areas as well. Due to lack of governance in our country we are unable to regain our lost dignity. Arab world is inclined towards us but what they can do if we dont want our self to be respected.

    And then reporters and individuals like one who mentioned above are ruining the image of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sami Ahmed
    Apr 2, 2011 - 8:43AM

    I’m from Bahrain.

    What I think is Pakistan should focus on Pakistanis. And their country. Not send them on unnecessary places to be killed, hurt.

    Pakistan and India have rivers, excellent agriculture land, and most importantly smart people. Where gulf states have to spend millions to get water! (no rivers) and millions to get “simple onions and tomato”.

    Pakistan and India have enormous assets to beat all European countries. They should focus on roads, structure, ports, education. And stop funding stupid army, while kids needs some food on table.Recommend

  • masood khalid
    Apr 21, 2011 - 12:16AM

    i am worked in Bahrain for Police in 1995s. Mr. Javed kahloon who recruited us, he was a blessing for us. He is like an angel for us. he hilp us when we r pour,
    Mr. Javed who takes people to Bahrain without any expenses. Mr. Javed did not take any money from him and took me to Bahrain. know i am stayed in Bahrain for 16 years in which time i supported my feamly and married me and my sisters and brother i do my status up This would not have been possible for me. Mr. Javed who still help their fellow pakistanis rather like our politicians and pakistani safeer.
    But you will not have researched that. If you do, you will come across many stories showing the difference jobs in the middleast have made to our family and how people like Mr. Javed are so rare given the thieves running around our country. We need to have promote people like him who have helped so many people. Your source in your article clearly wants to spoil his reputation, but reading your article,u r doing amm his respect and reputation .my conscience required me to narrate my family’s experience so reader is aware of my story as well.
    I request you to tell the full story and not one version and i want aske u, u have no knolig about mr javed. he live in over eyes and we want see alwas on top. if your brother not go bahrain it no mean mr kahloon is not good man,it mean your brother is not on standerd i want tell u one thing pls no trey to write with out knolege. Recommend

  • Apr 21, 2011 - 12:59AM

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