RAWALPINDI: A contingent of the Pakistan Army left for Qatar on Monday to assist the Qatari government in security duties during the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022.
The contingent comprises Pakistan Army officers, junior commissioned officers and enlisted personnel and they departed from Nur Khan Airbase.
An eight-member international FIFA training team visited Pakistan in September in this connection. During the visit, the training team imparted training on FIFA security to selected contingents of the Pakistan Army.
The Qatar government had requested Pakistan for security assistance during the FIFA World Cup 2022. In this regard, a four-member delegation of the Qatari Ministry of Interior visited Pakistan in August.
Last week, the Turkish parliament also ratified a motion to deploy soldiers in Qatar for six months to provide security during the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Operation World Cup Shield aims to take necessary measures against various threats, especially terrorism, which may affect the security of the organisation, said the memorandum.
It also stated that the Turkish Armed Forces elements to be deployed as part of the task will be under national command throughout the entire assignment. In addition to Pakistan and Turkey, the US, UK, France, and Italy will also provide military support to contribute to Qatar’s security during the tournament.
Further, Qatar has called hundreds of civilians, including diplomats summoned back from overseas, for mandatory military service operating security checkpoints at World Cup stadiums, according to a source and documents seen by Reuters.
The deployment of conscripts, some of whom would normally defer national service because their work is considered vital, highlights the logistical challenge faced by the tiny Gulf Arab state hosting one of the world’s biggest sports tournaments.
The civilians were told they had been called up to assist with the World Cup and that it was their “patriotic duty” to do so, a source said. Some volunteers are also training alongside the conscripted force, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the plan and the training.