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Troops already in Saudi Arabia, says minister

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Pakistan would not send its army to Yemen and its troops would protect the territorial limits of SA and holy places, says Mushahidullah.—Mushahid Ullah Khan facebook page
Pakistan would not send its army to Yemen and its troops would protect the territorial limits of SA and holy places, says Mushahidullah.—Mushahid Ullah Khan facebook page

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change and PML-N’s information secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan said on Friday that a large number of Pakistani troops were already in Saudi Arabia to protect holy places.

“Our troops are already present in Tabuk and some other cities of Saudi Arabia,” he said at a press conference at the PML-N secretariat.

He said Pakistan would not send its army to Yemen and its troops would protect the territorial limits of Saudi Arabia and holy places which “is our religious responsibility”.

Also read: Parliament calls for neutrality in Yemen conflict

He said Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had also said that a number of Pakistan Army personnel were in Saudi Arabia.

Replying to a question, Senator Khan said: “Being a large Muslim country and a nuclear state Pakistan has to intervene in this sensitive matter, otherwise the Muslim world will blame Pakistan for acting as a silent spectator.

“We have fought two Americans wars but this time it is the issue of our time-tested friend and holy places.”

Talking about a resolution on the matter unanimously adopted by parliament on Friday, the PML-N leader praised the role of all parliamentary parties and said they had acted positively on the sensitive issue.

He said Pakistan was nowhere near Saudi Arabia in terms of military strength but even then it had been asked to provide aircraft, warships and troops. “Saudi Arabia’s defence spending for the current fiscal year is said to be of over $82 billion and last year it was $62bn.”

He said Saudi Arabia had adequate resources for its own defence.

Replying to a question about Iran’s alleged role in the civil war in Yemen, he said: “Pakistan wants to maintain relations with all neighbours and friends on the basis of equality.”

He said every state had its own interest and the role of the United States in the situation was still uncertain.

“Until yesterday it was being said that the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline will not be allowed but today no-one talks about it,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2015

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