The Express Tribune reports: Saudi Arabia’s inclusion of Pakistan in a 34-nation military alliance against terrorism sparked much confusion on Tuesday after officials in Islamabad said they were unaware of any such development.
In a rare news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman announced the formation of new military alliance of Islamic countries, including Pakistan. He said the alliance will coordinate efforts against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan, but offered few concrete indications of how the military efforts might proceed.
The announcement cited “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.”
Asked if the new alliance would focus just on the Islamic State, the Saudi minister said it will confront “any terrorist organisation that appears in front of us.”
The Saudi state new agency, SPA, mentioned Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan among the 34 Islamic countries which are part of the military alliance – Iran, Syria and Iraq are not part of it. It added the coalition will have a joint operations centre in Riyadh to coordinate and support military operations.
When contacted, a senior official of Pakistan’s Foreign Office said they were gathering details about the newly formed alliance. “We came to know about it (the alliance) through news reports. We have asked our ambassador in Saudi Arabia to get details on it,” he said, suggesting that Pakistan has been caught off guard by the Saudi announcement. [Continue reading…]
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