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Protests In Pakistan Against Country’s Role In Saudi Led Coaltion

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Hundreds of people joined a Shiite-led protest in Islamabad on Friday against Pakistan’s decision to join Saudi Arabia’s coalition against terrorism.

The protesters presented a memorandum to a Foreign Office spokesman demanding that Pakistan drop out of the Saudi led alliance, which was announced in December.

Pakistan confirmed they would join the Saudi-led military alliance to fight “terrorism” in the Islamic world on Thursday, following a meeting between Riyadh’s foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Press TV reports:

The demonstrators said Islamabad had agreed to join the Saudi-led coalition for money.

“Neither the Pakistan army nor the nation is for rent, we will oppose any attempts to sell the army to the House of Saud for a few billion riyals,” Gul-e-Zahra, a senior activist, said in an address to the rally.

Last December, Saudi Arabia said it had formed an alliance of 34 countries to combat terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

The kingdom has long been accused of supporting terror groups operating against the Damascus government.

Meanwhile, some of the key countries in the coalition have said they were surprised by inclusion in the group without their knowledge.

At the time when the coalition was announced, Pakistan reacted cautiously and said it needed further details before deciding the extent of its participation.

In a U-turn following the two-day visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Islamabad said Thursday it would join the Saudi-led coalition.

“Pakistan welcomes Saudi Arabia’s initiative and supports all such regional and international efforts to counter terrorism and extremism,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement.

Pakistanis are also angry at the Saudi regime’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

On Friday, people staged a demonstration, chanting slogans against Saudi Arabia. They had staged another demonstration a day earlier to protest Saudi foreign minister’s arrival in Islamabad.