Hiring of Pakistani fighters for Bahrain angers Iran – by Amir Mir


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Tehran has conveyed its resentment to Islamabad over continuing recruitment of the retired Pakistani military officials to bolster the strength of the security forces of Bahrain, which have been cracking down on pro-democracy Shia protesters in the Gulf state with the help of the neighbouring Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Fauji Security Services (Pvt) Limited, which is run by the Fauji Foundation, a subsidiary of the Pakistan Army, is currently recruiting on war footing basis thousands of retired military personnel from the Pakistan Army, Navy and the Air Force who will be getting jobs in the Gulf region, especially in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. But sources in the Fauji Foundation say over 90 per cent of the fresh recruitments, which started in the backdrop of the recent political upheaval in the Arab world, are being sent to Bahrain to perform services in the Bahrain National Guard (BNG), and that too at exorbitant salaries. Thousands of ex-servicemen of the Pakistani origin are already serving in Bahrain and the fresh recruitments are aimed at boosting up the strength of the BNG to deal with the country’s majority Shia population, which is calling for replacement of the Sunni monarchy. Bahrain’s ruling elite is Sunni, although about 70% of the population is Shia.

While taking serious notice of the ongoing recruitment process for Bahrain, the Iranian foreign minister has reportedly warned Pakistan that if the recruitment was not stopped by Islamabad, it would have serious ramifications for diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Iran. According to well-informed diplomatic circles in Islamabad, Pakistan’s charge d’affairs in Tehran Dr Aman Rashid was recently summoned to Iran’s foreign ministry by deputy foreign minister Behrouz Kamalvandi to convey his country’s serious reservations over the recruitment of thousands of Pakistanis for Bahrain’s armed forces and police. However, it seems that the decision makers in Islamabad have ignored the Iranian warning as the recruitment process continues. Approached for comments, a senior official of the Fauji Foundation said while requesting anonymity that the foundation has been making such recruitments for almost 50 years and nothing unusual has happened now.

The recruits are being promised around 100,000 Pakistani rupees a month, besides other perks and privileges including free medical facilities and accommodation. According to available figures, over 1,000 Pakistanis have so far been recruited in March 2011 alone while 1,500 more would be hired in next few weeks. Advertisements appearing in several Pakistani newspapers stated that the Bahrain National Guard immediately requires experienced people with required qualifications as anti-riot instructors and security guards. In fact, Bahrain has long been a happy hunting ground for ex-Pakistani army personnel — an estimated 10,000 Pakistanis are already serving in various security services of Bahrain.

But what is being clearly seen as Sunni and Shia rivalries, Iran is annoyed with the recruitment of mainly Sunni Muslims for the Bahraini security forces because it blames them for crushing a mainly Shia uprising against the rule of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Tehran believes that all these recruitments were being made at the behest of Saudi Arabia. For long, Riyadh has been one of the two foreign hands — the other being the US — rocking the cradle of Pakistani politics, brokering truce among warring leaders, providing asylum to those being exiled and generously lavishing funds on a state strapped for cash. But the explosion of democratic upsurge is gradually bringing about a role reversal — it is Pakistan’s assistance the Arab royal families have now sought to quell rebellion in West Asia, rekindling memories of 1969 when the personnel of the Pakistani Air Force flew the Saudi fighter planes to ward off an invasion from South Yemen.

In the backdrop of the current political uprisings in the Middle East and the Arab world which has led to the ouster of several autocratic rulers of the Muslim world, it seems that Pakistan has decided to play a key role in the region by supporting Saudi Arabia to pre-empt a possible revolt against the Saudi Kingdom, with whom Pakistan has had a longstanding cozy relationship for almost half a century now. According to diplomatic circles in Islamabad, Pakistan seems eager to become the bulwark of the royal families against the popular Arab rage. They further say Islamabad has kept at standby two divisions of the Pakistan Army for deployment in Saudi Arabia should the simmering discontent there bubble over.

Pakistan in fact turned its gaze towards West Asia following the visits of, first, Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz and then, Bahrain’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, in March. Though pro-democracy sentiments haven’t gathered a critical mass in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is worried that the popular upsurge in Bahrain, a mainly Shia country over which Sunni kings rule, could well, with time, permeate across the border. The Americans seem to have endorsed Riyadh’s decision to seek Islamabad’s assistance. In return, the Saudi prince has offered support to resuscitate the Pakistan economy and meets its energy demands. But the khaki circles in Rawalpindi believe that Pakistan won’t commit its regular forces to a country other than Saudi Arabia.

Already, the presence of Pakistanis in Bahrain’s security forces prompted pro-democracy forces to target the expatriate community. The Pakistani Embassy in Bahrain recently reported that two Pakistani-born policemen and three other Pakistanis were killed and another 40 injured in the clashes between the security forces and protesters, some of whom told the media that they were set upon by uniformed men speaking Urdu. Analysts, therefore, feel that Pakistan could get embroiled in the Sunni-Shia rivalry for supremacy in West Asia. Iranian media has already predicted a prominent role for Pakistan in West Asia, accusing Islamabad of “collaborating with the Sunni rulers of Bahrain to crush a pro-democracy movement”. As Tehran is supporting the Shia protesters and Saudi Arabia is siding with Bahrain’s king, the recruitments from Pakistan give an impression as if Pakistan is on the anti-Iran side.

In other words, as things stand, Islamabad, wittingly or unwittingly, has become the frontline state for protecting the supremacy of Sunni Islam which would not be taken lightly by Iran that has the ability to create problems in Balochistan province, neighbouring Iran. Although protests against Islamabad’s growing role in the Gulf region have been largely non-existent in Pakistan, dozens of activists belonging to small groups who protested outside the Islamabad Press Club recently, decried hiring of mercenaries from Pakistan to curb pro-democracy forces in Bahrain. With the uprising in Bahrain decidedly having a popular base, some feel it would turn the people of Bahrain against Pakistan, which is perceived as the stooge of its imperialist masters.

Source: The News, April 15, 2011


9 responses to “Hiring of Pakistani fighters for Bahrain angers Iran – by Amir Mir”

  1. Iran warns Pakistan on mercs in Bahrain
    Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:30AM

    The Bahraini army, backed by some regional countries, has been suppressing peaceful Bahraini demonstrators since February 14, 2011.
    Iran has warned Pakistan that diplomatic relations between the two neighbors would be affected if Islamabad fails to stop recruiting Pakistani military forces helping the Bahraini army crackdowns.

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Behrouz Kamalvandi has summoned the Pakistani charge d’affairs in Tehran to Iran’s Foreign Ministry to convey Iran’s serious reservations about Pakistan’s recruitment of retired military officials for the Bahraini army to help with the crackdown of Bahraini protesters demanding their democratic rights, Pakistani media reported.

    The Iranian official warned that if the recruitment continues, it will have serious ramifications for diplomatic relations between Islamabad and Tehran.

    However, the decision-makers in Islamabad have ignored the Iranian warning as the recruitment persists.

    A foundation affiliated to the Pakistani army is recruiting retired military personnel from the Pakistan Army, Navy and the Air Force who will be deployed in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at exorbitant salaries.

    According to sources in the foundation, almost 90 percent of the recruited officials are being sent to crisis-hit Bahrain.

    Over 1,000 Pakistanis have so far been recruited in March 2011 alone, while 1,500 more would be hired in the next few weeks, reports say.

    People in Bahrain have been holding anti-government protests since February 14, demanding constitutional reforms as well as an end to the al-Khalifa monarchy.

    Demonstrators maintain that they will continue the protests, until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy, and a proportional voice in the government are met.

    The peaceful popular movement in Bahrain has been violently repressed since mid-February, leaving scores of protesters killed and many others missing.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/175074.html

  2. Iran-Pakistan fallout over Bahrain

    Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Iran are under a cloud after the Iranian government protested recruitment of Pakistani military officials into the Bahraini police forces.

    Pakistan’s charge d’affairs in Tehran was summoned to Iran’s foreign ministry earlier this month where deputy foreign minister Behrouz Kamalvandi conveyed his country’s reservations over the ‘recruitment for Bahrain’s armed forces and police’ in Pakistan.

    He warned that if the recruitment was not stopped, it would have serious ramifications for diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Iran.

    However, the Pakistan government is believed to have given blessings to the recruitment, which is being conducted through private contractors. More than a hundred retired army men are now on their way to Bahrain to serve in that country’s riot police and defence forces.

    Plans are also being finalised to send regular Pakistan army contingents to Saudi Arabia and possibly Bahrain, officials have said privately.

    In March, Pakistan received Prince Bandar of the Saudi National Council who proposed that army contingents be sent to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to prop up the monarchies in the two states.

    This visit was followed up by a visit of the Bahrain foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who confirmed that the Pakistan Army was willing to send its troops to bolster his government.

    In what is being clearly seen as Sunni and Shia rivalries, Iran is annoyed with the recruitment of Sunni Muslims for Bahrain’s security forces’ because it blames them for crushing a mainly Shiite uprising against the rule of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Bahrain.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Iran-Pakistan-fallout-over-Bahrain/H1-Article1-682919.aspx

  3. via Abbi at defence pak forum

    Ive never seen anything like this.
    You guys say that your people are hungry and in need of a job so they go and become merceneries for other countries. You don’t see anything wrong with this? At the very least think about your reputation. Go to some Iraqi and other Arab forums and see what they are saying about you guys. What happened to all that Halal stuff? Was that just talk?

    The people of Bahrain, both shia and sunni are asking for freedom and your country men are shooting them in the streets for $$$.
    Before you make this secterian, cuz I know you guys will. Watch these videos.

    “shia and sunni brothers, we will never give up our country”
    “our sunni brothers guarded us while we prayed in pearl square”

    http://youtu.be/VUN2Zs0–SI

    http://youtu.be/-TEGdKv1H_U

  4. ‘Arab media ignore Bahrain revolution’
    Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:16PM

    Interview with Middle East expert Christopher Walker from London, and political observer Mohsen Saleh from Beirut

    Peaceful anti-government protests continue in Bahrain.
    People in Bahrain continue the anti-government protests despite the regime’s brutal crackdown and unfair Arab media coverage over the revolution.

    In an interview with Press TV, Middle East expert Christopher Walker from London, and political observer Mohsen Saleh from Beirut commented on the current situation in Bahrain.

    Press TV: Mr. Walker, before the Saudi invasion of Bahrain there was talk of negotiation and dialog. But with the current Saudi invasion and the attempt of the government to break up the opposition groups, it seems now that hopes for dialog have totally been dashed. What is your comment?

    Walker: I would totally agree with you. In a couple of days’ time, American government official (Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs) Jeffrey Feltman is due to return (to Bahrain) to try and put in place some negotiations between the government and the protesters. Mr. Feltman was there last month, but he got nowhere, and reportedly the Bahraini government officials even refused to talk to him when they launched their crackdown. The United States’ tacit support for the Bahraini government and its refusal to speak out very toughly against them is one reason why they feel able — as you so graphically reported — to step up the measures against the mainly Shia Muslim opposition scattered in villages around the capital Manama.

    Press TV: Why has the United States remained silent on Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Bahrain? We are still having a war in Libya. Why do we see such double-standard policies?

    Walker: I do not think it is a very difficult question to answer. The fact is that Bahrain is the regional base of the US Fifth Fleet, and the US Fifth Fleet is its major strategic arm in the Middle East. Although it is based in Bahrain, it is crucial to the current Washington policy in the region. So they are very worried that if something was to happen in Bahrain of deep instability, that Fleet would lose its base. That is really the guiding force.

    Press TV: As you said, Bahrain hosts the Fifth Fleet of the United States’ Navy. What is the likelihood of seeing US troops playing an active and direct military role on the ground in Bahrain against the protesters?

    Walker: I do not think that is likely. Why do they need to when they have got the Saudis and the UAE — that large invasion force that came across the causeway, driving largely the British-made armored personnel carriers — to do the job for them? There is also the fact that the Bahraini authorities have a large mercenary, paramilitary police force. I do not think there is much danger of them being overwhelmed and I do not think the Americans would go so far as to be seen on the ground defending the despot.

    Press TV: Mr. Saleh, how do you see the situation in Bahrain, and the US role in this country?

    Saleh: The US role is of course the main factor in this dilemma; this problem in Bahrain, because they give the orientations. They might not intervene militarily, but they give the orientations to the Saudis to intervene in Bahrain, and they give the orders to Bahraini security to shoot people and destroy the mosques and give momentum and lay off workers from certain parties of al-Wefaq and all kinds of associations that might work on a revolution in order to reform the country. I guess you always have to find the United States in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. They are intervening everywhere in order to put down these revolutions; especially in Bahrain, which — as you have mentioned — is the home of the US Fifth Fleet, and it is a strategic place.

    Press TV: How unified do you see the opposition in Bahrain Mr. Walker?

    Walker: It is not particularly strong in that it has not been allowed to be particularly strong by the ruling Sunni minority. But it has obviously worried them (the rulers) to the extent that they announced that the main party al-Wefaq — the main opposition party; the small opposition faction — was going to be dissolved. They now appear to have put a slight hold on that. I believe that is probably connected with the arrival of Mr. Jeffrey Feltman who is due in Manama in the next few days to hold discussions. I think the opposition knows that when it raises its head, it will be struck down very hard, but there has been a lot of bravery on the streets.

    And the fact that the authorities have even tried to stop the hospitals treating the wounded protesters is a sign that they are running quite frightened. They are certainly worried about the fact that basically 60 to 70 percent of their population is made up of Shia Muslims, while the ruling Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled for over 200 hundred years, is a Sunni Muslim minority. So wherever you have such a small minority imposing its views on a majority, you have got a recipe for trouble. Anybody could have predicted once the Arab spring broke out in Tunisia that Bahrain would be an early place.

    Press TV: The government was attempting to break up different opposition groups. Mr. Saleh, do you think such an act would take place, and do you think the ground would be paved for forming perhaps a single, more unified and stronger opposition bloc against the government?

    Saleh: Absolutely; The reform will go to Saudi Arabia and all the (Persian) Gulf. That is what the (Persian) Gulf emirates need. Most of the people in the (Persian) Gulf have been oppressed for a long time, whether in Bahrain or in Saudi Arabia etc. I guess this new dawn started in Bahrain, and it will go to Saudi Arabia and other places. I guess the oppressors [are] led by the United States. And Jeffrey Feltman coming to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in order to give orders to the Bahrainis and Saudis how to deal with these revolutions; and of course not to go into dialog or try to respond to the demands of the people. We know the United States goes to these sheikhs and emirs and gives them dictations; gives them orders to put down these revolutions, because [the revolutions] will influence their interests in the region. They have of course supported these regimes for a long time — which goes back to the British colonization.

    Now we see that people in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will have a consensus that they have to continue their revolution, and they will not think that they should go back or retreat or stop. Of course they are going to deal with the situation because oppression is very high. They (the rulers) are dealing with the teachers, the students, the women, and the charity associations in a very harsh manner — a barbarian manner I should say. These rulers have no mercy on their people. That is why they do not deserve to be their rulers. And I guess the Saudis and the Bahrainis (the regimes) are ordered by America to protect the Persian Gulf from what they call Shia and Sunni. I guess Shia and Sunni are oppressed in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia. And I guess because these rulers work as agents for the American interests, that is why they deal with their people as if they are not their people, but foreigners in their country. That is why these people have to continue and they will continue the revolution.

    Press TV: Mr. Walker, with all this crackdown going on in Bahrain against the peaceful protest; with all the destruction of religious sites and mosques happening there by the Saudi-backed troops, how likely do you think it is that the demonstrations in Bahrain will turn violent?

    Walker: I think it is very possible. They already are violent in some respects. Do not forget that the authorities have already bulldozed the Pearl roundabout, which was the original center of the protests — a rather small equivalent of Tahrir Square in Cairo. It has been reduced to rubble. The famous iconic monument is no longer there. So there have been violent protests, but I think we should probably emphasize that while [in] Libya [there] is virtually a civil war and huge heavy armor has been used by the rebels who operate from Benghazi, in Bahrain the protesters have not really gotten access to that sort of weaponry. So there is not going to be a civil war in that way, because they are hopelessly outgunned by the authorities, and they largely depend on traditional riot equipment with the occasional small weapons.

    Press TV: Mr. Saleh what do you think? How possible is it that people in Bahrain will take up arms to voice their demands?

    Saleh: They are going to continue, because their demands are just and they are not bringing something new. The government and the rulers confess that these people have the right to go and revolt. The people in Bahrain have been agonized for a long time and I do not think there will be any kind of civil war whether in Libya or in Bahrain. People go marching and revolting against the rulers, and these rulers are bringing whether mercenaries or some other countries’ forces — Saudi Arabia or Emirates etc. — in order to try to kill these people and torture them and prevent them from continuing their revolution.

    That will not of course influence the spirit of the revolution, because these revolutions started from pains; from tears; from all kinds of oppression by the people in the Khalifa family. People (the Bahrainis) are now more insistent on their right to march again and to continue by not going to work, and by whatever kind of pattern to really try to bring the rulers into executing and responding to their demands. Of course there are many conspiracies against the people, whether from the Americans or from these rulers. It is not easy to give the people their rights. They (the authorities) have for a long time been enjoying the privileges of the royal family. They divided the wealth of the country among them and prevented the people from their preliminary or principal rights, and this will influence the people. I guess this revolution started because these people are convinced that they will continue, and that is why I think the revolution will continue in many ways or styles.

    Press TV: Mr. Walker you are in London. What kind of media coverage are you getting on the recent Arab uprisings, especially the case of Bahrain?

    Walker: Bahrain has been far overshadowed in recent media coverage by Libya. Libya is by far the main news area from the Arab world, because there is virtually a war taking place there and [there has been] dramatic TV footage, whereas in Bahrain journalists are firstly very restricted. And secondly, Bahrain has not frankly been of the Western media’s interest. You can see a conspiracy behind it if you want. It was the West’s interest not to encourage the downfall of the ruling Khalifa family in Bahrain. Bahrain is also a much easier place for the authorities to restrict press coverage. In Libya, for instance, when journalists could not get in, because Gaddafi did not at that time allow them, they just drove into the East or got there another way. But in Bahrain, they have to go via the airport and they are just not given visas. There was quite a large article in one of our Saturday papers — occasionally such articles do appear. It was in the Manchester Guardian under the headline “Bahrain protest will go nowhere while the US supports its government.” I would say that is about the line that most of the British media are taking.

    Press TV: Mr. Saleh how do you assess the media blackout on Bahrain?

    Saleh: Most of the channels, especially the Arab channels, try to ignore or try to darken the area of Bahrain. They do not mention Bahrain as much as they do with the Libyan revolution, the Tunisian revolution or the Egyptian revolution. Now there is a big question about this media objectivity in order to cover the revolutions in Bahrain. These people are especially oppressed, and if the media claim they are objective, they have to cover the events in Bahrain. Main channels, like Al Jazeera, do not really pay attention to this great revolution in Bahrain, although they know the people in Bahrain are more oppressed than those in Libya or Tunisia or Egypt. They have this double standard like the United States and I have pity on these channels to behave in this manner, because they really think that the media should cover all these events and they should transfer these events to the people in other parts of the world, but I guess they do not do anything. This is a great example of the double standard of the Arab media.

    Press TV: How much do you see traces of Israel in Bahrain?

    Saleh: According to the WikiLeaks, the king of Bahrain confessed to the American ambassador that he is ready to do [anything,] because he is always having special relations with Israel; of course secret relations. Most of the (Persian) Gulf states have this kind of relation. He appointed one of the Israelis [as ambassador to the United States.] This shows to what extent this royal family is ready to go into so-called peace with Israel against the Palestinians and against the resistance in the region.

    Press TV: Mr. Walker how do you see traces of Israel in Bahrain?

    Walker: The fact that a Bahraini Jew was appointed the ambassador in the US is a sign that there are secret strings there. And of course the Fifth Fleet has its own close connections intelligence-wise with the Mossad — the Israeli Secret Service. So they are behind the scenes, but there is no doubt their interests are very much in common — the ruling Khalifa family, the Americans and the Israelis.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/175357.html

  5. Lascars In Manama
    As Pakistanis police the Arab street, it must shun the sectarian whirlpool
    AMIR MIR
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    For long, Saudi Arabia has been one of the two foreign hands (the other is the US) rocking the cradle of Pakistani politics, brokering truce among warring leaders, providing asylum to those exiled, and lavishing funds on a state strapped for cash. But the explosion of democratic sentiment in West Asia is bringing about a role reversal—it’s Pakistan’s assistance the Arab royal families have now sought to quell their rebellions, rekindling memories of 1969, when Pakistani air force personnel flew Saudi fighter planes to ward off an invasion from South Yemen.

    From all accounts, Pakistan seems eager to become the bulwark of the royal families against the popular rage on Arab streets. It is said to have kept at standby two army divisions for deployment in Saudi Arabia, should the simmering discontent there spill over. Islamabad is also hiring ex-army personnel to bolster the Bahrain National Guard (BNG), which has been cracking down on pro-democracy protests in the kingdom neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

    Pakistan turned its gaze towards West Asia following the visits of, first, Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz and then Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa in March-end. Though pro-democracy sentiments haven’t gathered a critical mass in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is worried that the popular upsurge in Bahrain, a predominantly Shia country over which Sunni kings rule, could well, with time, permeate across the border. Sources say the Americans have endorsed Riyadh’s decision to seek Islamabad’s assistance. In return, the Saudi prince offered support to resuscitate the Pakistan economy and meet its energy demands. Renowned analyst Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, however, doesn’t think Pakistan would commit its regular forces to a country other than Saudi Arabia. “Even in this case, the condition would be that Pakistani troops would perform their assigned duties only within Saudi Arabia.”

    Protesting recruitment in Islamabad

    But deployment of regular forces in West Asia isn’t the only option before Islamabad. Already the Fauji Security Services, a subsidiary of the Fauji Foundation, which the Pakistani army established in 1993 for helping its superannuated personnel seek re-employment, has recruited about 1,000 men in March alone, 90 per cent of whom have been earmarked for serving in Bahrain. Conducting the tests and interviews, say sources, is a team comprising Bahraini and Pakistani officers as well as a few American instructors. The recruits are promised $1,174 a month, free medical expenses and accommodation. Over the next month, another 1,500 are to be hired. Since Shias dominate the agitation in Bahrain, it has been thought prudent to exclude them from recruitment here.

    True, Bahrain has long been a happy hunting ground for former Pakistani army personnel—an estimated 10,000 Pakistanis serve in various security services of Bahrain. Yet the urgency for fresh recruits is borne out by an advertisement in the Urdu daily Jang, which states that the BNG speedily requires people who have the experience as anti-riot instructors. It also furnishes the ranks of officers whom they wish to hire.

    In return for help, the Saudis would help revive the Pakistani economy, and meet its energy demands.

    Already, the presence of Pakistanis in Bahrain’s security forces prompted pro-democracy forces to target the expatriate community. The Pakistani embassy in Bahrain has reported that two Pakistani-born policemen and three civilians were killed and another 40 injured in clashes between security forces and protesters, some of whom told the media later that they were set upon by uniformed men speaking Urdu. Pakistani writer Cyril Almeida wrote in the Dawn newspaper on March 28: “The harrowing attacks on Pakistani nationals in Bahrain… has perhaps for the first time drawn attention to the for-hire security personnel who travel from Pakistan to defend the Bahraini kingdom and its ruling class.”
    Analysts also feel Pakistan could get embroiled in the Sunni-Shia rivalry for supremacy in West Asia. The Iranian media has repeatedly predicted a prominent role for Pakistan in West Asia, accusing Islamabad of “collaborating with the Sunni rulers of Bahrain”. Pakistan’s charge d’affaires in Tehran was recently summoned to Iran’s foreign ministry, which conveyed its strong reservations over the ongoing recruitment in Pakistan for Bahrain’s armed forces. Should this not cease immediately, the Pakistani official was warned that Pak-Iran relations would be adversely affected.

    Comprehending the danger, The Express Tribune wrote, “Even before the uprising broke out, many Pakistanis were serving in the Bahraini police force. Since the troubles began, Bahrain has been recruiting mercenaries from Pakistan to bolster its police and armed forces. Bahrainis are understandably enraged. By allowing mercenaries to serve the Bahraini monarchy, Pakistan has dangerously taken sides in what may turn out to be a geopolitical, ethnic nightmare. Iran is naturally supporting the protesters while Saudi Arabia is on the side of the king. Thanks to the mercenaries, the impression will now stick that Pakistan is on the anti-Iran side….”

    In other words, Islamabad, wittingly or unwittingly, has become the frontline state for protecting the supremacy of Sunni Islam. Says Imtiaz Alam, who is also the secretary general of the South Asia Free Media Association, “Pakistan’s role as a ‘frontline state of Sunni Islam’ would not be taken lightly by Iran, which has the capability to create problems in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.” In a lighter vein, Alam adds, “Under the present circumstances, Pakistan’s nuclear bomb would no longer be viewed as an ‘Islamic Bomb’, but a ‘Sunni Bomb’”.

    Yet most analysts appear gung-ho about Pakistan’s role in West Asia. Take Dr Rasheed Ahmed Khan, a professor of international relations at Punjab University, who pointed out, “Despite the rapidly developing profile of American strategic partnership with India and apart from the US rhetoric about India’s pre-eminence in the Indian Ocean region, the hard geopolitical reality remains that Pakistan is uniquely placed to serve the American regional strategies in key areas such as Central Asia or West Asia.” Protests against Pakistan’s role have been largely non-existent, though dozens of activists belonging to small organisations did protest outside the Islamabad Press Club, decrying the hiring of mercenaries by the Pakistan army to suppress pro-democracy forces in Bahrain and dividing its society along the incendiary ethnic line of Shias and Sunnis.

    With the uprising in Bahrain decidedly having a popular base, some feel it would inevitably turn Bahrainis against Pakistan. For a country already having to endure the blowback of being a frontline state in the war on terror, another such role in the West Asian cauldron could prove perilous.

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?271395

  6. Hiring of mercenaries from the unemployed youth of pakistan and financial support of saudi arabia will strengthen Pakistan’s economy.Irrespective of the fact Pakistani nation not divide their selves to Shia and Sunni they think like Pakistani.