Details of troop deployment in Saudi Arabia will be shared with Parliament, says Pakistani PM

In this file photo, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reviews the honor guard in Islamabad, Pakistan Aug. 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Details of troop deployment in Saudi Arabia will be shared with Parliament, says Pakistani PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has explained that an additional 1,000 troops will be deployed to Saudi Arabia to “train and advise” Saudi forces.
There are already over 1,600 Pakistani armed forces personnel in the Kingdom, and Abbasi explained to “Center Stage” talk show on Express News that such deployments have happened regularly over the past 40 years.
MPs had earlier questioned Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir as to why Parliament had not been informed of the decision to deploy the troops, with some — including Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani — threatening to “initiate contempt proceedings” against him and the prime minister.
Abbasi told “Center Stage” host Rehman Azhar that he would provide the House with any requested information. He dismissed the idea that Pakistan was intending to assist Saudi Arabia in an assault on Yemen.
“We shall provide whatever details the House asks for. The defense minister gave his statement in the Senate, (but) if the House deems it necessary, I can go and give a statement. There is nothing new (about the deployments), but an impression was created that thousands of troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia with plans to attack Yemen,” he said, adding that Pakistani troops would likely constantly be in Saudi Arabia “sometimes in large numbers and sometimes in small numbers, sometimes trainers of one kind and sometimes trainers of some other kind.”
Discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling that Nawaz Sharif had to step down as head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party on Wednesday, just ahead of the Senate elections on March 3, Abbas stressed his party respected “all the judges.”
However, he added: “The courts previously gave judgments that caused billions of dollars of exposure to the Government of Pakistan, which means that today, we owe billions of dollars because of these decisions and we do not have the right to appeal against them.”
Abbas also suggested that dialogue on such issues should be conducted “among the institutions” rather than through the media.


41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

Updated 16 December 2018
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41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

  • The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido
  • Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition

TOKYO: More than 40 people were injured in an explosion Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan, police said.
The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido.
Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-story restaurant in Sapporo’s Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details.
TV footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the restaurant in flames, with debris scattered on the ground.
The footage showed gray smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing. Windows on an apartment building next door were broken.
A witness told NHK that he smelled gas after the sound of an explosion.