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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

World

Pak worries being mercenary hub
Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Islamabad, March 25, 2011
First Published: 01:42 IST(25/3/2011)
Last Updated: 01:43 IST(25/3/2011)

The hiring of Pakistani servicemen for riot policy duty in Bahrain has become a source of controversy, with calls being made that such practices be halted.

Munizae Jahangir, the host of one such TV program, said that the recruitment of Pakistani mercenaries was having a larger impact on the Pakistani communities in these countries. In Bahrain, Pakistanis are being targeted by locals because it is felt that they are siding with the country's ruler.

After the death of a policeman of Pakistani origin in Manama and attacks on several others, attention has been drawn to the for-hire security personnel who travel from Pakistan to defend the Bahraini kingdom and its ruling class. According to a report in the local English language daily, The Express Tribune, 1,000 men are being recruited by the army-run Fauji and Bahria foundations for the Bahrain National Guard.

But there may be pressure on the Pakistan government to go on supplying much needed men and materials.  Columnist Cyril Almeida writes in Daily Dawn newspaper that this pressure may come from Saudi Arabia, a country which has much in stake in Bahrain. However, the short term benefits for Pakistan in this may be crossed out with the long term fall out.

Journalist Salman Siddiqui says that Pakistani are being seen as part of the problem for the pro-democracy forces in Bahrain. There are fears that if this feeling spreads to other Arab states, thousands of Pakistanis who work on a variety of jobs in the Gulf may

be sent packing home in the event of a change of guard. "Should this happen, Pakistan will suffer a great deal," said one analyst.

It is reported that local army run foundations are recruiting for a wide variety of positions for the Bahraini security forces. There were also reports of recruitment for Libya but these were contradicted by the Pakistan Foreign Office.


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