Senate summons defence minister over sending army to Saudi Arabia

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Islamabad (Web Desk): Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Friday summoned Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir to appear before the Upper House of Parliament on Monday with regards to the army’s announcement of sending army to Saudi Arabia.

The order was issued when Senator Farhatullah Babar raised it as an issue of public importance in the house on Friday, saying that he had also given a notice of adjournment.

Senator Babar said that on the one hand the Yemini allies of Saudi Arabia were losing the internal political battle because of infighting and on the other the air campaign and blockade by Saudi Arabia suffered a backlash, adding that “this provides a disturbing context”.

On Thursday, Pakistan Army had announced that it will be sending its troops to ally Saudi Arabia on a ‘training and advise mission’. According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the Pakistan Army troops ‘will not be employed outside’ Saudi Arabia.

“In continuation of ongoing Pak-KSA bilateral security cooperation, a Pakistan Army contingent is being sent to KSA on training and advice mission,” the Inter-Services Public Relations had announced after a meeting between Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa and Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki at the General Headquarters.

Referring to the ISPR announcement, he said that the development came after a meeting between the COAS and Saudi ambassador which was preceded by a recent three-day visit — the second in two months — “quietly” undertaken to Saudi Arabia. He maintained that the number of troops being sent is unknown but the disclosure that it will be less than a division “indicated that almost a full-fledged army division is being sent to the Kingdom”.

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