Pakistani military experts strengthen Mugabe's army
Pakistan has sent several senior military experts to help strengthen President Robert Mugabe's army, which has been severely weakened by mass resignations, desertions and a Western military embargo.
The secondment of the Pakistanis to retrain and re-equip the Zimbabwean army comes as Mr Mugabe is desperate to beef up his forces as he fears the deteriorating economy may lead to social unrest.
Mr Mugabe has relied heavily on his army to crush any challenge to his rule. The Pakistanis arrived as annual inflation surged to 1,281 per cent, the highest in the world, leaving a majority of Zimbabweans unable to afford the basics for survival, and raising the spectre of mass strife. The Pakistani experts will stay in Zimbabwe for at least two years and will be paid in US dollars by the Zimbabwe government, which is struggling to raise foreign currency to pay for essential imports such as fuel and food.
The first secretary at the Pakistani embassy in Harare, Safdara Hayat, said that his country's experts were brought in under a military co-operation agreement signed with Zimbabwe last week. He confirmed the Zimbabwe government would pay the military experts. Although exact numbers were not available, Mr Hayat said those already in Zimbabwe had been seconded to the air force.
The Zimbabwe air force has played a particularly important role in quelling mass protests by monitoring ground movements of protesters. Asked why Pakistan, a Commonwealth country, was deploying military trainers to Zimbabwe despite human rights abuses that had prompted the Commonwealth to suspend the country, Mr Hayat said only: "Pakistan has been involved in military and defence co-operation with Zimbabwe for a long time. The agreement has only been renewed now." The last such agreement was signed in 1983.
Zimbabwe said that it had every right to pursue bilateral deals with Commonwealth nations.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change condemned Pakistan's decision. A party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said that the deal proved "the Mugabe regime was in perennial combat with its people," and accused Mr Mugabe of importing "gunmen, not grain".
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
travelFor broadcaster Mishal Husain, a long-haul Club Med holiday was a chance for her family to explore its sense of 'zen' and 'animation'
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Queen to miss Nelson Mandela funeral over security and long-haul flight concerns
'Never a good time to increase MPs' pay': Jack Straw defends politicians' 11% pay rise in face of public outrage
The 'terrorist' and the Tories: What did Nelson Mandela really think of Margaret Thatcher?
Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £100000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior C++ De...
£25000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C++ Server Dev...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Leading Electronic Trading Software Ven...
£23999 - £32001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: An independent ac...