The decision was made following heated debate at the Pakistani parliament.
The reason for the deployment is still unclear but a source has stated that the forces “will not be used beyond Saudi borders.” The move is believed to have been discussed with the Pakistani Chief of General Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to Saudi Arabia in December.
The Pakistani army had stated at end of last year that it was committed to “the security and protection of the Holy Mosques and also to the territorial integrity of the kingdom.” The statement was made after Saudi authorities accused the Houthi Movement of targeting the Holy Kabba with a missile in October 2016. The Houthis denied the claims.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a military coalition in Yemen to reinstate President Hadi as the “legitimate” president of the country but the process has been challenging since it was launched in March 2015.
Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed according to UN data while the warring parties have been accused of committing war crimes.
Although Islamabad has limited its involvement in the crisis, the deployment of its troops continues to be a sensitive issue because Riyadh terms the military campaign as a “Sunni” coalition wherein 20% of Pakistan’s population is Shias.
Analysts consider the war in Yemen as a proxy war between the Sunnis led by Saudi Arabia and the Shias backed by Iran.