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Pakistan not sending troops to Bahrain or Saudi: PM

Updated Mar 20, 2014 04:46pm
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — File photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday denied speculation that Pakistan was sending its troops to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, DawnNews reported.

In response to a question posed by media representatives after a ceremony at the M.M. Alam airbase in Mianwali, the premier said Pakistan was not sending its forces to either of these countries and neither had it been approached to do so.

He said the Bahraini king's visit to Pakistan was beneficial to the country and should be viewed as such, adding that the country was faced with multiple challenges and timely decisions needed to be made.

King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, leading a 21-member delegation which includes his top defence and internal security chiefs.

On Wednesday, King Hamad along with his delegation made an unprecedented visit to the Joint Services Headquarters (JSHQ) in Rawalpindi where both sides discussed “brotherly relations between the two countries and vowed to further enhance military cooperation”.

Pakistan has been looking at the visit as an opportunity for expanding trade and promoting investment links but Bahrain appears more interested in bolstering defence relationship.

In 2011, Pakistan had helped Bahrain quell an uprising against the monarchy by sending security personnel recruited through military’s welfare wings — Fauji Foundation and Bahria Foundation.

Also today, when asked why airforce and naval chiefs were not appointed on the post of chairman joint chief of staff committee, Prime Minister Sharif said that in the future they would also be handed the assignment.

He defended his call of appointing Rashad Mehmood as the CJCSC and said there was no imbalance in this decision.

Moreover, the Mianwali airbase was renamed today to M.M. Alam airbase with the prime minister presiding over the plaque inauguration.

A brother and sister of Air Commodore (retd) Muhammad Mahmood Alam Khan were also present on the occasion.

M.M. Alam, a veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars, had passed away in a hospital in Karachi in March 2013 after a long illness.

Mateen Haider contributed to reporting