Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday denied speculation that Pakistan was sending its troops to Bahrain and Saudi Arab, a private news channel reported.
In response to a question posed by media representatives after a ceremony at the M M Alam airbase in Mianwali, the premier said Pakistan was not sending its forces to either of these countries and neither had it been approached to do so.
The prime minister’s statement came after the rumors that dignitaries from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain during their recent visit to Pakistan have requested for troops for possible assistance to counter rebels in Syria.
He said the Bahraini king’s visit to Pakistan was beneficial to the country and should be viewed as such, adding that the country was faced with multiple challenges and timely decisions needed to be made.
King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, leading a 21-member delegation which includes his top defence and internal security chiefs.
On Wednesday, King Hamad along with his delegation made an unprecedented visit to the Joint Services Headquarters (JSHQ) in Rawalpindi where both sides discussed “brotherly relations between the two countries and vowed to further enhance military cooperation”.
Pakistan has been looking at the visit as an opportunity for expanding trade and promoting investment links but Bahrain appears more interested in bolstering defence relationship.
In 2011, Pakistan had helped Bahrain quell an uprising against the monarchy by sending security personnel recruited through military’s welfare wings — Fauji Foundation and Bahria Foundation.
Also today, the Mianwali airbase was renamed to M M Alam airbase with the prime minister presiding over the plaque inauguration.
A brother and sister of Air Commodore (retd) Muhammad Mahmood Alam Khan were also present on the occasion.
Sharif praised Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to be one of the best in the world, adding the government is aware of the needs and requirements of PAF.
M M Alam, a veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars, had passed away in a hospital in Karachi in March 2013 after a long illness.