Pak refuses to disclose details of troops deployment in Saudi

The minister gave a policy statement in Senate, the upper house, days after the powerful army announced the decision to send troops to the Gulf Kingdom.

SAJJAD HUSSAIN
Islamabad, Publish Date: Feb 20 2018 12:39AM | Updated Date: Feb 20 2018 12:39AM
Pak refuses to disclose details of troops deployment in SaudiFile Photo

Pakistan's Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani today threatened Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir with 'contempt of parliament' proceedings after the minister refused to provide details of the 'unilateral decision' to send Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia for deployment.

The minister gave a policy statement in Senate, the upper house, days after the powerful army announced the decision to send troops to the Gulf Kingdom.

"Pakistani troops being dispatched to Saudi Arabia are only meant for imparting training to Saudi security personnel instead of entangling in Yemen war," he told the lawmakers.

He said that the over 1,000 contingent will be dispatched shortly as part of the decision.

Currently, around 1,600 Pakistani troops are on deputation in Saudi Arabia under a bilateral agreement.

The minister said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has approved deputing additional Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia for training and advisory purposes, which is a continuation of the on-going support.

He rejected the impression that by sending troops the government had violated April 2015 resolution by parliament which had asked the government to stay away from Yemen war.

However, the Senate Chairman 'rejected' Dastagir's briefing to the upper house after the minister said he could not divulge "operational details" of the deployment.

"Why don't we proceed against you and the prime minister over 'contempt of parliament'?" Rabbani asked.

He asked why the parliament was not informed by the minister and the prime minister since they knew about the decision to deploy the troops.

"The parliament found out (about the deployment) through a press release," Rabbani said. "The executive has itself rubbed parliament's nose in the dirt."

Rabbani asked the minister to provide all details about the deployment and offered in-camera session for the purpose and urged him "not to give us a lollipop" as "we are not children."

The minister refused to accept the offer and even refused to share the location where the troops will be deployed.

He told the Senate that the troops will not be deployed outside the Kingdom's territory, but Rabbani expressed a lack of confidence in his words, saying this information was already known. 

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