Yemen conflict: 5,000 Pakistani troops likely to join Saudi-led coalition
RIYADH - As many as five thousand troops of Pakistan Army would likely be joining Islamic Military Alliance to help Saudi Arabia safeguard its southern region which borders Yemen, it emerged on Monday.
Although the former military head General Raheel Sharif has already departed to Saudi Arabia after securing No Objection Certificate to head the 41-nation military alliance but reports are rife that a brigade of Pak Army would now be joining the alliance.
The final decision regarding the number of soldiers and its terms of reference have not been finalised yet but it is being murmured that army chief General Qamar Bajwa in his Saudi Arabia visit decided to send the brigade in a bid to strengthen the alliance.
According to a report by Daily Khabrain, director General ISPR, Asif Ghafoor had already hinted at the possibility that Pak Army would not indulge in any battle outside the territory of Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, renowned US daily, Wall Street Journal published an interview of Major General Ahmed Asiri, the adviser to the Saudi minister of defence, who discussed the scope of the military alliance, its structure, mission and expressed that it would be used to wipe out terrorism from Muslim world.
He also clarified that the elimination of Houthi rebels would also be part of the agenda for the Islamic Military alliance but this point can cause a friction in coming days owing to DG ISPR clarification that Pakistan Army would remain restricted to Saudi Arabia, however, the final decision would be made after a meeting of council of defence ministers of Muslim countries.
It bears mentioning that initially, it was reported that 34 Muslim countries would be a part of the alliance but the members have now clinched to 41 according to latest reports.
According to the sources, the Pakistan Army bridge comprising of latest military equipment would play a pivotal role to reach goals set by the alliance.
It has also been brought to notice that former military chief, who would be the head of Islamic Military Alliance has started searching top-notch officers mainly former military Brigadier Generals for assuming charge in the headquarters of the alliance.
Interestingly, investigations suggest that at the current moment, 1180 officials of Pak Army are stationed in Saudi Arabia for training and consultancy services. The officials were sent to Saudi Arabi after the 1982 defence pact signed by both Islamic countries.
If these officials are taken into account, then the total number of Pak Army officials serving in most sought after alliance would swell to 6180.
Although general Raheel Sharif would be exercising his powers to select the officials for the vacant slots in the alliance but the final decision about the number of Pakistani troops would be taken by the president of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain as he is the supreme commander of armed forces.
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