By Abuzar Ilyas
Statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Qatar crisis:
‘Pakistan supports unity in Ummah and we will maintain neutrality in current crisis which has erupted in the Middle East.’
I was shocked to receive news about 20,000-25,000 Pak Army troops deployment in Qatar. It later proved to be a hoax when I checked from my sources. The online journal which posted this news did not quote any official source. Most media outlets forget that it is against the norms of media to post random news without any credible source.
Pakistan Army’s deployment in Qatar in current conflict or in future is just wishful thinking because it is impossible for Pak Army to deploy such a huge contingent overseas when we are dealing with an insurgency which has posed an existential threat to our country for some years now.
Pakistan’s stance in current conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is neutral because Pakistan has always supported prosperity and unity among Muslim countries. Any adventure/ war will lead to destruction and suffering of Muslims which will be unfortunate. Only viable solution is dialogue between the concerned parties. After the conference of Islamic Military Alliance too, Pakistani foreign office had issued a statement that Pakistan was not going to fire bullets on any Islamic country. That policy is in practice for the current crisis too.
We have an example from the past when the whole of Arab League and OIC boycotted the Egypt after its ties with Israel but Pakistan played a positive role to bring back the Egyptians in mainstream. Both the KSA and Qatar are important friends and brotherly countries of Pakistan and we have businesses and cultural relations with both of them. Pakistan gives equal importance to the relations with these countries. Pakistan has so far maintained neutrality in this conflict and is ready to play a positive role for mediation between the confronted powers.
Pakistan is importing oil from KSA and LNG from Qatar, has huge trade interests and ties with both of these countries so taking side of one country and abandoning the other is out of question. A large number of Pakistanis are employed by both of these countries and this factor also demands neutrality.
Pakistan Army’s expected deployment in Qatari peninsula is out of question for now. Pakistan Army will never be deployed to fight against any Muslim country as stated by the foreign office and foreign secretary after the conference of Islamic Military Alliance.
Pakistan Army is a sizeable force with more than 600,000 active troops. Over 150,000 of its soldiers are busy in fighting war against terrorism in North West of Pakistan and in intelligence based operations (IBOs) throughout the country. Over 100,000 troops are currently taking part in National Census. Moreover, Pak Army also takes part in relief operations, election duties and other tasks.
As far as the matter of Turkey’s involvement in Qatar is concerned, it was a forgoing deal which took some years to materialize. 150 military trainers of Turk military were present inside Qatar and both countries were in talks with each other for the deployment of an overseas Turk detachment. The rapid legislation from the Turk parliament is a coincidence for some people and it is also a step in favour of Qatar and against Saudi alliance but overall, Turkey is itself seeking a neutral position in this crisis.
A large bulk of army is needed to cope with any challenge posed by the arch rival India. Situation on eastern borders of Pakistan is also tense these days and further escalations are expected due to constant ceasefire violations by our adversary on Kashmir’s Line of Control. Exchange of artillery also happens after every few days on LoC, so the deployment of Pakistan Army overseas is completely out of question for now.