Islamabad | Pakistan found itself in the cross hairs of Middle East politics after Saudi Arabia included it in a 34-nation military coalition of Muslim countries to combat terrorism without getting Islamabad’s consent, media reports said today.
In a statement yesterday, the Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a military coalition of 34 nations to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said he was surprised to read the news that Saudi Arabia had named Pakistan as part of the alliance, the Dawn reported. Chaudhry said he had asked the country’s ambassador in Riyadh to get a clarification from Saudi Arabia on the matter.
Another senior official also confirmed that Pakistan was not consulted before inclusion in the alliance. This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has named Pakistan as part of its military alliances without Islamabads knowledge and consent.
The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of a coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre. Pakistan later declined to join the Yemen war. It is Pakistani government’s policy that it will not deploy its troops outside the countrys borders except for UN peacekeeping missions.
In the past Pakistan has twice rejected US calls for joining alliances against the militant Islamic State (IS) group on the same pretext. We are not looking for any involvement outside our region, army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had said last month while replying to a question about the possibility of Pakistan becoming part of a US-led coalition against IS.