Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pakistani troops aid Bahrain's crackdown

In March, as a government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors intensified in Bahrain, curious advertisements started appearing in Pakistani media.

"Urgent requirement - manpower for Bahrain National Guard," said one.

"For service in Bahrain National Guard, the following categories of people with previous army and police experience are urgently needed," said another, with "previous experience" and "urgent need" underscored.

The categories included: former army drill instructors, anti-riot instructors, retired military police, and former army cooks.

In the following two months, on the back of visits to Islamabad by senior Saudi and Bahraini officials, sources say at least 2,500 former servicemen were recruited by Bahrainis and brought to Manama, increasing the size of their national guard and riot police by as much as 50 per cent.

"We know that continued airplanes are coming to Bahrain and bringing soldiers from Pakistan," Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera.

"We do not know the exact number, but we know that it is much more than 1,500 or 2,000 people."

Recruited into the special forces, the national guard, and the riot police, the Pakistani citizens are tasked with suppressing Shia protesters that are reportedly demanding equal rights after years of alleged oppression at the hands of the royal family, part of Bahrain's Sunni minority.

"Our own Shia cannot join the security forces, but the government recruits from abroad," said Rajab. (more)