Islamabad - The government said Wednesday that the country has not sent any additional force to Saudi Arabia under the newly formed 34-nation alliance and it has yet to decide its role in the coalition.
In a policy statement at the floor of the National Assembly, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaz Aziz said that it has been indicated that the coalition will coordinate military, intellectual and media efforts in the fight against terrorism.
It will fight those supporting and financing terrorism, provide database on terrorist groups and organisations and will hold meetings, seminars and conferences to study the developments of the phenomenon of terrorism and come up with recommendations to fight it, he elaborated.
Each country in the coalition would decide the specific activities in which it would participate, he said. Pakistan is still awaiting further details and technical consultation, after which it will decide the extent of its participation, he maintained.
Answering questions from PTI lawmakers Shireen Mazari and Arif Alvi, Aziz said the role of participant countries in coalition is to be decided in a meeting scheduled this month.
“We have 1000-1200 military officials in Saudia since 1982, under defence cooperation; this number has been increased to 1300-1400 recently, as around 100-200 additional personnel have been sent for training on counter terrorism and IEDs, the adviser informed the assembly.
He said the coalition was in its initial stage and new members were joining it, making it 36-nation union. Judging any implication, in this regard, is before time. He said Pakistan is still waiting for further details and technical consultation, after which it will decide the extent of its participation.
“We are carefully monitoring the situation, we will ensure that our decision does not have any sectarian dimension,” Aziz added.
Answering a question of lawmaker Shams-un Nisa that whether Pakistan will join the Saudi-led coalition despite the ongoing Middle East sectarian tensions, the adviser in a written reply said that the military alliance has been formed to counter terrorism in the region.
While securing its national interests, Pakistan will collaborate with other countries to promote regional peace and reconciliation, he said. Quoting a new report, Aziz said that the collation was formed to protect Saudi Arabia from terrorists.
On 14 December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, according to a statement published on the state news agency, SPA.
Aziz said in his policy statement that it was “a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organisations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorise the innocent”.
Discussing Pakistani stance on ongoing Saudi-Iran tiff he said the recent developments in the region and rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are a source of concern for Pakistan and deterioration in relations between the two countries will have serious implications for peace and security in the region and sectarian harmony in the Islamic world.
He said, “Today, the Ummah is at a very critical juncture in history, Islamophobia is high and rising. There are more fights being fought on Muslim soil and territories today than at any point and time in history. It is the time for the Ummah to put up a united front against the internal and external enemies.”
The adviser highlighted that Pakistan has historically pursued the policy of promoting unity, fraternity and harmony among Muslim States and has always expressed its readiness to do whatever it could to help Muslim States to resolve their differences through dialogue and reconciliation.
He said the 34-state military alliance has been formed to counter terrorism in the region. While securing its national interests, Pakistan will collaborate with other countries to promote regional peace and reconciliation.