View Full Version : Pakistan and Arab World: Security Cooperation

04-05-2015, 05:11 PM
Events in the Yemen and the coalition response has for a moment brought the Pakistani relationship with Arab friends to the fore. It appears the coalition, in particular expect Saudi Arabia expects Pakistan to provide "boots on the ground".

Hamid Hussain, an occasional SWC contributor, who watches events from the USA, has this comment:
I can guess from some questions asked from me that a lively debate going on in Pakistan about Saudi request for cooperation of Pakistan in Yemeni theatre.
In 2010, I saw some early signs of a trend and in 2011, wrote a piece to give some background about the issue. A very well informed Saudi then serving at a very senior position under Prince Bandar at newly created Saudi National Security Council was very upset with me (I had done some earlier work on internal dynamics of the ruling family and other issues facing Saudi Arabia and that may be contributing factor). I explained to him the nature of my sources and asked him to point to any factual errors but he never explained. He rather gave a general comment that ‘who else Pakistan can count on except Saudi Arabia’. Unfortunately, in the absence of a culture of diligent research in Pakistan even in academia, folk lore and drawing room chit chat and mess talk is passed on as history confusing many.
The most misunderstood chapter is Pakistan’s role in Jordan in 1970. Only Pakistani combat troops involved were a small detachment of anti air craft guns and this detachment was sent not protect Jordan from Israelis. King Hussain was concerned that Syrian or possibly Iraqi air force may act in support of Palestinians planning to overthrow him and that is why he specifically requested it from Pakistan. I have highlighted the text in bold that answers some specific questions such as role of General Zia ul Haq in Jordan in 1970.
My next project was to work on Oman as it is a peculiar case where Baluch citizens of Pakistan serve their full military careers in the security forces of Oman including officer corps. However, some who had great insight of the subject decided to keep quite and I had to shelve the project.

Attached is a background paper written in July 2011, on historical security cooperation.

04-08-2015, 11:35 AM
A very interesting read.

Here some additional 'bits and pieces' that might be useful to enhance Mr. Hussain's write-up. It's based on interviews with several Jordanian, Egyptian, and one of Bangladeshi (ex-Pakistani) pilots that served during those fateful times (entire story can be found in books Arab MiGs, Volume 3 (http://www.amazon.com/Arab-MiGs-Volume-June-1967/dp/0982553994/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1WG189MZ2W6FCC6TWTHK), and Arab MiGs, Volume 4 (http://www.amazon.com/Arab-MiGs-Volume-Transition-Attrition/dp/0985455411)):

- Pakistani Air Force was posting two of its pilots to the RJAF already since early 1960s. One of them, Hamid Anwar, barely survived a crash with a two-seat Hunter flown by RJAF pilot 1st Lt Amer Zaza, in 1964 (Anwar ejected on time, Zaza too late: he descended with the parachute right into the burning wrecakge of their aircraft...).

- Two PAF officers served with No. 1 Squadron RJAF (flying Hunters), during the June 1967 Arab Israeli War, and were granted permission to fly combat sorties over Jordan. Flt Lt Saif-ul-Azam flew two sorties on 6 June 1967, then evacuated to Iraq with rest of RJAF fighter-pilots, and flew another sortie with Iraqi Hunters over H-3 airfield, two days later. He was credited with three confirmed kills and highly decorated (by Jordanians, Iraqis, and Pakistanis), before quitting the PAF and joining the newly-established Bangladesh Air Force, following the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Flt Lt Sarwar Shad fell ill and was hospitalized, on 5 June 1967, and did not fly during that war.

- After the June 1967 War, Azam and Shad were replaced by two unknown pilots. For most of the next two years, they served with the RJAF contingent in Iraq (based there because nearly all of Jordanian Hunters were destroyed and airfields had to be repaired). In March 1969, these were replaced by Flt Lts Noor Khan (future Air Marshal) and Akmal: immediately on arrival in Amman, Noor Khan and Akmal were sent to Dmeyr AB in Syria, where they joined the rest of reorganized No.1 Squadron RJAF. Within few weeks, they were reinforced by a bigger group of advisers, including Muhammad Mahmood Alam (probably the most famous PAF pilot of the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War), Arif Manzoor, Atique Sufi, Shahid Foozi and Sarafaz.... (there would be a lot to say about what kind of training they run in Syria, but that's 'a different story'...).

- As soon as Mafraq AB was completely rebuilt and extended, they moved back to Jordan and then the RJAF began receiving F-104 Starfighters from the USA. During the summer 1969, Pakistanis assisted in conversion of about 15 Jordanian pilots to that type...

...that said, it seems at least a few Pakistanis did remain in Syria until at least 1972, when they were met there by the CO of an Egyptian MiG-17-squadron deployed in that country...

A big delegation from Pakistani Army visited Jordan immediately after the June 1967 War. I don't know much about it though. Jordanians only told me that the Pakistanis were instrumental for reorganization of the Jordanian Army and introduction of divisional structure.

- In regards of Saudi Arabia... it was around the same time - i.e. between 1967 and 1970 - that another group of PAF pilots was seconded to the RSAF. They flew six Hunters acquired to support introduction to service of Lightning interceptors purchased by Saudi Arabia from the UK, and did so together with a small group of contracted British personnel. It was them that saw the 'standoff' with Egyptian forces involved in Yemen War ofthe 1960s, mentioned by Mr. Hussein. I do not know any of their names, though...

04-08-2015, 02:04 PM
Just a small correction. You said "In March 1969, these were replaced by Flt Lts Noor Khan (future Air Marshal) and Akmal:"

That must have been some other Noor Khan, since Air Marshall Noor Khan had already commanded the Pakistani Air Force in the 1965 Pakistan-India war and in March 1969 he was ready to start a stint as governor of Punjab under the new Martial Law regime of General Yahya Khan.

btw, more about PAF pilots in the 1973 war: http://www.paklinks.com/gs/pakistan-affairs/22476-shahbaz-over-golan-the-paf-squadron-in-the-1973-arab-israeli-war.html

04-10-2015, 04:56 PM
Via the BBC after the Pakistani parliamentary debate on joining the coalition:
The parliament of Pakistan expresses serious concern on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and its implications for peace and stability of the region...[It] desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis.

Note the caveat:
Friday's resolution backed the Pakistani government's commitment to protect Saudi territorial integrity and Islamic holy places located inside the kingdom.


WaPo notes:
Under Pakistan’s constitution, the resolution is non-binding, because the prime minister has complete authority over the country’s armed forces. But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said this week he planned to leave the matter up to parliament.

Link to a slightly longer report:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2015/04/10/6dc494fc-df62-11e4-a500-1c5bb1d8ff6a_story.html

04-10-2015, 06:45 PM
Via the BBC after the Pakistani parliamentary debate on joining the coalition:

Note the caveat:


WaPo notes:

Link to a slightly longer report:http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2015/04/10/6dc494fc-df62-11e4-a500-1c5bb1d8ff6a_story.html

This is probably the smartest decision Pak politicos and the army made since 1947. With sectarian tensions running very high in Pak, a "Shia-Sunni war" is the last thing they needed.

But defying the people who give you unconditional money and oil and control the holy sites will have some grave consequences.With US winding down in Afg, Chinese economy slowing down, SA could have been the meal ticket Pak so desperately needed.

For me, Gen Raheel Sharif came out as the smartest guy. The one time PA is glad to be under a democratic government.;)

04-11-2015, 12:55 PM
Speaking to renowned Emirati newspaper Khaleej Times, Garhash warned Pakistan of having to pay a “heavy price” for taking on what he called an “ambiguous stand”. He added that Pakistan should take a clear position “in favour of its strategic relations with the six-nation Arab Gulf cooperation Council”.

“The Arabian Gulf is in a dangerous confrontation, its strategic security is on the edge, and the moment of truth distinguishes between the real ally and the ally of media and statements,”


04-13-2015, 05:52 AM
Answer from Islamabad:
Pakistan minister hits out at UAE over Yemen criticism (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/asia/2015/04/12/Pakistan-minister-hits-out-at-UAE-over-Yemen-criticism-.html)

...Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan hit back on Sunday night in an unusually strongly worded statement, accusing the UAE of “making threats.”

“This is not only ironic but a thought-provoking moment that a minister of UAE is hurling threats at Pakistan. The statement of the UAE minister is in stark violation of all diplomatic norms prevalent according to the principals of international relations,” he said.

“Pakistan is an honored nation and has brotherly emotions for the people of UAE along with Saudi Arabia, but this statement of an Emirati minister is equal to an offence against the ego of Pakistan and its people and is unacceptable.”

Pakistan was the first country to recognize the independence of the UAE in 1971 and the two Sunni Muslim-majority countries have close economic ties.

Overall, one is left to wonder: OK, the UAEAF has deployed about a dozen of its F-16E/Fs to Saudi Arabia. But, why do they need Pakistani troops if they're so eager to go into Yemen?

04-13-2015, 03:04 PM
Answer from Islamabad:
Pakistan minister hits out at UAE over Yemen criticism (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/asia/2015/04/12/Pakistan-minister-hits-out-at-UAE-over-Yemen-criticism-.html)

Overall, one is left to wonder: OK, the UAEAF has deployed about a dozen of its F-16E/Fs to Saudi Arabia. But, why do they need Pakistani troops if they're so eager to go into Yemen?

Because they don't have people.

In 2013, the UAE's total population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.

Their armed forces are mostly comprised of Pakistani ex military. IIRC, fighting arm of UAE Army stands about 2 Div. I don't think that UAE can afford to send even a brigade to Yemen. Pakistan, OTOH has one of the largest standing army in the world.

04-13-2015, 06:43 PM
...perhaps they should think about such 'irrelevant details' BEFORE getting themselves involved in mindless military interventions...

04-15-2015, 01:21 AM
...perhaps they should think about such 'irrelevant details' BEFORE getting themselves involved in mindless military interventions...

Well they did. They (Arabs) have been thinking about this for decades. Hence every now and then, they call in Pak army to handle dirty stuff for them. From crushing Black September in Jordan in 1970 to crushing Bahraini Arab spring in 2011. From officially PA tanks rolling to "advisers" sent to supervise the situation. Hence the funds for PA modernization both over or under the table.

A Pakistani ex military/LE, can earn literally multiple times his official salary when working in middle east.

Unlike the immensely lazy Arabs who can't fight even if their life's dependent on it, PA was (not anymore) a very British institution which means discipline, training, traditional and all that stuff.

04-22-2015, 12:04 AM
Admin of a Pak defence forum painstakingly created a list "Has Pakistan 'back stabbed' Arabs?"

There are arguments floating in the Arab media about how Pakistan has 'back stabbed' the Arabs, let's take some lessons from history to understand what Pakistan has done for Arabs. This will help the readers understand if Pakistan which itself is in ICU has 'back stabbed' Arabs or its them who are apathetic to Pakistan's own security situation which has claimed over 80,000 Pakistanis killed so far.

In 1969, Pakistani pilots participated in the Saudi offensive inside Yemen to target Houthi rebels, to subdue them and secure the southern border of Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan began with help to the Royal Saudi Air Force to build and pilot its first jet fighters in the 1960s. Pakistani Air Force pilots flew RSAF Lightnings that repulsed a South Yemeni incursion into the kingdom’s southern border in 1969.

Pakistan contributed fighter Pilots in two Arab Israeli wars.

In the 1980s, Pakistan sent about 15,000 troops to secure Saudi Arabia from internal threats.

Pakistani engineers also helped build fortifications along the southern Saudi border, in part to help counter Houthi rebels.

Up until the First Gulf War, there was a detachment of thousands of Pakistani soldiers posted in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s experienced military helped train the undermanned and underprepared militaries of a number of fledgling Arab states.

The former Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq once even commanded a unit of troops in Jordan tasked with combating & crushing the Palestinian fighters during Operation Black September.

Pakistan provided 700 military personal to Kuwait during its conflict with Iraq.

Pakistan's training program for Arab forces is running from 1960s and continues till date and it spans all three services.

Pakistan established a secret Ballistic Missile base in Saudi Arabia to defend it from foreign threats.

04-22-2015, 11:06 AM
The NYT op-ed 'Pakistan, the Saudis’ Indispensable Nuclear Partner' by:
Pervez Hoodbhoy is a professor of physics and mathematics. He teaches at Forman Christian College in Lahore and Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad.

Near the start he writes:
The recent deterioration of Pakistan’s ties with its Arab benefactors, even if it turns out to be temporary, is unprecedented.

He ends with:
Except that now Saudi Arabia, which is too rich to be ignored yet too weak to defend itself, has reason to fear that Pakistan, its indispensable nuclear partner, might no longer simply follow its diktats.

04-23-2015, 06:47 AM
It's quite simple, actually: during the recent visit by President Xi Jinping in Pakistan, Beijing and Islamabad signed a number of deals, worth US$ 46 billion (for some of details, see here (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32377088)).

These are including construction of a natural gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan, and then building up an entire 'China-Pakistan Economic Corridor' (CPEC), which is including a network of roads, railways and pipelines between Gwadar, Lahore and Islamabad in Pakistan and Xinjiang region in China, plus expansion of Pakistani ports.

With other words: 'sorry Saudis', but since you're not investing as much into Pakistan (or if, then only into local nuclear weapons and madrasses for training of Jihadists), Chinese are far more interesting.

04-23-2015, 02:18 PM
China's 46 billion is mostly promises. Not a bad idea if it happens, but the burden is going to be on Pakistan to prove it can build, operate, secure.
Meanwhile the relationship with Saudi Arabia remains VERY important. Which is why the army chief and the PM are both in Saudi today to massage their bruised ego.
What they asked for in Yemen (IF they asked for ground troops to fight there) was simply insane. A step too far, even for Pakistan.

04-23-2015, 03:51 PM
Past experiences with Chinese 'promises' of this kind have shown that they shouldn't be taken lightly.

In 'worst case', i.e. should Pakistan prove not able to fullfil its parts of the project, it's going to find itself 'invaded' by few thousands of very busy Chinese specialists.

Check all over Africa for countless examples from recent years (be these some road construction project in eastern DRC, so many others in Zimbabwe or Tanzania, or whatever other place).

09-25-2016, 12:46 PM
I have seen references to the historical and this thread often has posts on the sometimes supportive role Pakistan plays now in Saudi security. So thanks to a "lurker":
In the aftermath of the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by extremists, Saudi Arabia was looking for foreign troops from a Muslim country to address its internal security dilemma.
On return, the delegation recommended to General Zia ul Haq that Pakistan should only send advisors and trainers, but no combat troops should be sent to Saudi Arabia as this will complicate Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia’s neighbors. Zia overruled and agreed to deployment of a large Pakistani contingent.
Saudi Arabia was looking at this contingent from mainly internal security point of view and they wanted operational and administrative control of the contingent. Kallue was of the view that a Pakistani officer should be the overall commander of the Pakistani force and on this issue he did not go to Riyadh. In 1982, a formal agreement was signed and Saudi Pakistan Armed Forces Organization (SPAFO) headquarters was established at Riyadh. Pakistani troops were stationed at different locations in the kingdom and numbered about 17,000.
An enlarged armoured brigade consisting of three armoured regiments, one armoured infantry battalion, one artillery regiment and other supporting elements was stationed at Tabuk. …An anti-air craft regiment as well as an artillery regiment were stationed at Khamis Mushayet while technical and EME elements were stationed at Taif. In addition, trainers from the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy were also stationed in Saudi Arabia. Taken from the Pakistani Defence Journal, October 2016

01-02-2017, 11:59 AM
One Pakistani soldier and ex-Chief of Staff has a decision to make, thanks to our contributor Hamid Hussain:
Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif retired on 29 November 2016 handing over command to General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Four weeks later, Saudi Arabia sent a special plane to Lahore to bring Raheel for a meeting in Saudi Arabia. Even before his retirement, rumors have been circulating that he will be given some role in ongoing conflict in Yemen.His comment:
We don’t know the final decision of General ® Raheel Sharif about his role in Saudi led coalition. I just put down my thoughts about the issue with the hope that he will seriously re-consider his options. I don’t know if any officer has communicated his thoughts about this issue but almost all officers are against involvement of Pakistan in any foreign entanglement. See attachment (4pgs) for more details.

01-07-2017, 02:01 PM
General Raheel Sharif, the former Pakistani army chief, will now head the Saudi Arabia-led 39-nation military coalition formed to serve as a platform for security cooperation and combat terrorism.

The decision to appoint Gen (retd) Raheel, who retired in November 2016, was taken after taking the incumbent government into confidence, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said yesterday.Link:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-ex-army-chief-joins-saudi-arabia-led-military-coalition/articleshow/56391182.cms? (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-ex-army-chief-joins-saudi-arabia-led-military-coalition/articleshow/56391182.cms?from=mdr)

01-18-2017, 07:02 PM
An update from Hamid Hussain, our indirect contributor, following an exchange with an anonymous, serving Pakistani Army officer - so giving some insight into how one of them views the world. Plus Hamid's response.

See the attachment.

03-03-2017, 08:09 PM
An interesting title in an on-line news site: 'Asia's quiet superpower: Pakistan Army’s teetering balance between Saudi and Iran'.

When I first read the (below) extract I laughed; the Pakistani Army has not won a single war and has followed at times a strategy of embracing the Afghan Taliban and some of its own terrorists. Hardly a prospectus that IMHO would encourage any Arab ruler to embrace them.

Anyway the extract:
With a Pakistani general leading a Saudi-led terror fighting force, Islamabad has the chance once again to be the region’s final guarantor.
When one thinks of the Pakistan Army, one does not instinctively think of a force that is relevant to conflicts in the Middle East. Yet increasingly – and without actually being involved in any operations - it is the most influential military in the region.Link:http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/asias-quiet-superpower-pakistan-army-s-teetering-balance-between-saudi-and-iran-903452261

The author Kamal Alam is a Pakistani Visiting Fellow @ RUSI (London) and his slim bio is:https://rusi.org/people/alam

Have I missed the deployment of troops, planes and more from Pakistan to the region? I'd wager there are more Western "infidels" in situ than Pakistani military. The author though writes:
After the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi army, and Iran’s rising influence across the Middle East, the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have looked to Pakistan as the final guarantor.

03-07-2017, 01:18 PM
Two "lurkers", both SME, on this topic have provided comments.

A general reply:
The author has overstretched his imagination. If we believe the author that Pakistan is teacher of all Arab armies then utter and most humiliating defeats at the hands of Israelis does not speak well for the teaching skills of the teacher. Where did he get the information that majority of military was in favor of joining the Yemen adventure? I have interacted with a large number of officers of all ranks including many close to Raheel Sharif on this topic. They could not say it openly but privately they communicated with me that majority of officers were against it. Of course Shia officers were pretty acidic in their response. The case of soldiers is a bit different. They mainly come from the conservative, rural areas and their view is shaped by holy places in Saudi Arabia and they may see it as defending holy places.From the cited article above:
....the Pakistan army is the only non-sectarian army in the Muslim world - it has had Shia Hazara chief of staffs, Sunnis and several Christian generals.Riposte:
During General Mussharraf’s time, a number of senior officers were Shia including some Corps Commanders and the GOC of the Special Service Group (SSG, a SOF unit). Many participated in operations against militants. However, since then Shia numbers have dwindled in senior ranks. Among the rank and file of the Northern Light Infantry that recruits from northern areas with significant Shia population this unit has a good number of Shia soldiers. Christians are only a handful and to my knowledge now no one with now holds a senior post. A two star Christian Major General Noel recently retired. I don’t know much about their numbers in Air Force and Navy.The second lurker pointed to Shashank Joshi's (also of RUSI) commentary on the Indian and Pakistani role in the Middle East:https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/south-asias-strategic-influence-middle-east

He notes that:
Today, Pakistan’s presence is smaller but still includes a squadron of pilots at the UAE’s Al Ain Airbase and two brigades in Saudi Arabia.Curiously the current IISS 'Military Balance' does not show the two brigades. Perhaps the soldiers serve within Saudi units?

Someone knows how to needle Pakistan in the UAE:
...Emirati minister immediately after Pakistan’s parliament voted against involvement (in Yemen) in 2015. Pakistan would pay a ‘heavy price’. This is perhaps one reason why, on 26 January, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, watched the Indian military parade through New Delhi for the country’s Republic Day. Al-Nahyan, who was invited as chief guest, had been greeted at the airport, against protocol, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

04-09-2017, 11:19 AM
Ahmed Rashid, the author has this BBC News article that starts with:
The appointment of Pakistan's former army chief General Raheel Sharif to head a 39-country Saudi-led military alliance of Muslim countries to combat terrorism has set off intense debate in Pakistan and in the region.

After months of silence from Gen Sharif, Pakistan's defence ministry has now said that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have come to an agreement on his posting.

(He ends with) There has been longstanding criticism from politicians and the media that Pakistan has been ignoring Iran, even though it is an important neighbour. So far Gen Sharif's appointment has only increased that criticism and created considerable unease as to the future course of Pakistan's foreign policy.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39525449

Hamid Hussain has a longer commentary, with several intriguing parts, e.g. the Israeli-Saudi relationship, on the attachment.

07-21-2017, 09:19 PM
A curious update from RUSI by a Pakistani analyst: 'The Pakistani Army's Defence Diplomacy: More Action, Fewer Word' and sub-titled:
With a renewed defence diplomatic effort in the Gulf and Afghanistan, Pakistan’s army is determined to dispel misconceptions and address allegations made by both adversaries and allies.Why curious? This passage helps to explain:
Some of the key charges against the country were that Pakistan’s actions did not match its words. Islamabad, critics – including the US – claimed was not ‘coming clean’ about its policies in Afghanistan, that its relationship with the Saudis lacked transparency and that it was pursuing a hostile stance towards Iran.Bajwa, who took over in November 2016 from Sharif, has sought to dispel these claims. Since taking over, he has set his eyes firmly on strengthening Pakistan’s relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran, talking straight about Afghanistan to the Americans and not misleading India over false promises of conflict resolution.
His first three foreign visits were to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and he has now announced a forthcoming visit to Tehran.
(Finally) All told, Pakistan’s army is now moving away from its previous stance of purely working in support of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.Link:https://rusi.org/commentary/pakistani-armys-defence-diplomacy-more-action-fewer-words
This seems to be a diplomatic sequence that aims to please everyone, both Arab nations and Iran. So Pakistan is not committed to really help "when the chips are down".

There are comments on Afghanistan, so they are posted elsewhere.

02-19-2018, 08:57 PM
Looks like the Pakistani Senate's "nose is out of joint" over the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia:
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Monday threatened Defence Minister Dastagir with 'contempt of parliament' proceedings after the minister outright refused to provide details of the ‘unilateral decision’ to send Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia for deployment.

Disclosing the size of the deployment for the first time since the decision was announced, Dastagir said a total of 1,000 Pakistani troops are being sent to the Kingdom on a training mission. He said 1,600 Pakistani soldiers are already stationed in Saudi Arabia. The defence minister attempted to assure Senate that the troops will not be deployed outside the Kingdom's territory,Link:https://www.dawn.com/news/1390403/govt-refuses-to-divulge-operational-details-of-pakistani-troops-deployment-to-saudi-arabia

03-07-2018, 10:11 AM
From a commentary:
According to the Pakistani defence minister (https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/283383-pak-troops-not-to-take-part-in-yemen-war-minister-assures-senate), the latest troops sent to Saudi Arabia have embarked on a training and advice mission, and will not be dispatched onward to Yemen. The Pakistani army has apparently developed significant expertise in mountain warfare and counter-insurgency during recent military operations in Pakistani tribal areas and the Swat Valley, and will be transferring these skills to Saudi forces. And the only mountainous region within the kingdom that’s currently a conflict zone is on the Yemeni border.Link:https://theconversation.com/why-pakistan-has-troops-in-saudi-arabia-and-what-it-means-for-the-middle-east-92613? (https://theconversation.com/why-pakistan-has-troops-in-saudi-arabia-and-what-it-means-for-the-middle-east-92613?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20March%207%202018%20-%2096298286&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20March%207%202018%20-%2096298286+Version+A+CID_6d9f7f5909277e98bf308100 1186e908&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Why%20Pakistan%20has%20troops%20in%20Saud i%20Arabia%20%20and%20what%20it%20means%20for%20th e%20Middle%20East)

Will there be "mission creep"?

Then there's this, people not formations, although unclear if they are seconded, contractors or simply "tourists":
Although the kingdom, like other Arab Gulf countries, does not make the numbers public, experts say there are as many as 70,000 Pakistanis serving across the Saudi military services at any one time.Link:https://www.thenational.ae/world/pakistan-in-talks-with-saudi-arabia-to-send-combat-troops-to-protect-the-kingdom-1.44396

12-30-2018, 11:53 AM
A puzzling story that starts with:
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan returned home this week from Saudi Arabia with a pledge of $6 billion in loans. Khan was likely able to secure the deal with fewer strings than a previous rejected offer, due to enormous international scrutiny on the kingdom in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi murder. But the latest package may require a deepening military partnership with Saudi Arabia.