The Senate was informed on Monday that Pakistani troops being dispatched to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are only meant for imparting training to Saudi security personnel instead of entangling in Yemen war.
Giving a policy statement in the House, Defence Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said that currently around sixteen hundred Pakistani troops are on deputation in Saudi Arabia. He said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had approved the sending of army to Saudi Arabia and later on ISPR formally announced the decision.
He said the prime minister has approved deputing additional Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia for training and advisory purposes.
He said that the assistance being rendered by Saudi Arabia is a continuation of the on-going support and within the confines of joint parliamentary resolution of April 2015.
Khurram Dastgir said that the planned training and advisory contingent has yet not been dispatched to Saudi Arabia.
He said that the contingent will have strength of over one thousand troops of all ranks and will be dispatched shortly.
He said contingent deputed in Saudi Arabia will perform its training and advisory mission while remaining within the geographical boundaries of the Kingdom.
He said training of Saudi forces is governed by 1982 bilateral protocol regarding the deputation of Pakistan’s Armed Forces’ personnel. He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also hold joint defence exercises regularly.
Khurram Dastgir said that 1600 Pakistani troops are currently deployed in Saudi Arabia and 10,000 Saudi troops are currently receiving training in Pakistan.
He added that more than 1,000 troops will be deployed in Saudi Arabia over a few months’ time, bringing the tally of Pakistani troops deployed to 2,600.
While shedding light on the fraternal relations between the two Muslim countries, Dastgir said that the armed forces of Saudi Arabia were even present in the Defence Day parade in Pakistan last year.
The chairman Senate took the defence minister’s briefing with a grain of salt, calling it ‘inadequate’. Raza Rabbani said that the briefing is not enough to satisfy the house and raises many questions. ‘Where will be the troops deployed? Will they be inside cities or on borders?’ said the chairman Senate.
‘What are the terms and conditions of the agreement?’ he further said, while in the same vein, offering the defence minister a camera sitting on the subject as well. Raza Rabbani said that the prime minister and defense minister have committed contempt of the parliament while not taking the parliament into confidence regarding the matter of sending the army in Saudi Arabia.
Khurram Dastgir, while giving a clarification, said that Pakistan forces have acquired new skills and will help in training and advising their Saudi counterparts.
“The apprehension that our troops will become entangled in the Yemen war is incorrect, we have clear rules of engagement,” said the defence minister.
He said that the current and future deployments will be within the remits of the agreement.
The defence minister said that Pakistani forces have acquired new skills at a huge price due to the ongoing war against terror and will help in training the Saudi troops against the challenges to the kingdom.
Meanwhile the Senate on Monday passed three resolutions. In first resolution, the house recommended to the government that the process of delimitations of constituencies in FATA for next general elections be stopped and 2018 elections should be held there as per previous delimitations.
In second resolution, the house recommend in view of the growing collaboration between Pakistan and China under CPEC, courses of the official Chinese Language should be launched for all current and prospective Pakistani CPEC Human resources in order to overcome any costly communication barrier.
The third resolution recommended the government to take necessary steps to set up separate branches of the National Bank of Pakistan in Tehsils Dadak and Kangri of district Musakhel, Balochistan.
Earlier, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017 was laid before the House today. The bill provides protection, relief and rehabilitation of rights of the transgender persons and their welfare.