Turkish and Pakistani flag
Turkish and Pakistani flag

Pakistani Air Force to cooperate with 'notorious' Turkish paramilitary group: Report

ANI | Updated: May 24, 2021 10:32 IST

Ankara [Turkey], May 24 (ANI): The Pakistani Air Force (PAF) has agreed to cooperate with a "notorious" Turkish paramilitary group that has been accused by the United Nations of deploying fighters from Syrian armed groups to take part in military operations in Libya.
The Pakistani Air Force's policy thinks tank, the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), has become a partner of the Islamic Union Congress, organised by the Association of Justice Defenders Strategic Studies Center (ASSAM), a front organization run by private military contractor SADAT, which many believe is a de facto paramilitary force loyal to the Islamist president of Turkey, reported Nordic Monitor, a news website and tracking site that is run by the Stockholm-based Nordic Research and Monitoring Network.
In 2020, the United Nations (UN) revealed how the Turkish government used its paramilitary contractor SADAT in Libya and requested an explanation from Turkish authorities in a letter signed by a group of senior rapporteurs.
"Turkish authorities allegedly contracted private military and security companies to facilitate the selection as well as the preparation of official and contractual documentation for the fighters, apparently in coordination with the Turkish security services. One of the companies cited in this context was Sadat International Defence Consultancy [SADAT]," the letter said. The rapporteurs also claimed that according to the available information, SADAT contributed to the recruitment of children under 18 years of age to take part in an armed conflict.
The Islamic Union Congress is a series of gatherings that started in 2017 and will continue until 2023. The event is sponsored by municipalities run by the ruling party, government agencies and Turkish Airlines.

The fifth congress, in which CASS is a partner, will be held in Istanbul in December 2021 and will focus on the "Principles and Procedures of Joint Foreign Policy for the Islamic Union (2021).
The CASS is a policy think tank established in 2019 in Islamabad by the Pakistani Air Force specializing in aerospace with a perspective of national security and economic development. It is run by senior retired air force generals and employs a significant number of researchers. Retired Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat, who had served for 38 years in various capacities in the PAF, is the current president of CASS.
Interestingly, the cooperation between the two pro-government organizations that operate in the military area occurred at the same time that Turkey and Pakistan were rumoured to be cooperating in the joint manufacture of fighter jets.
Military experts also claim that Turkey may join the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet project that Pakistan has been developing with China.
Early this month, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan who was on a visit to Turkey said that "Pakistan and Turkey are two countries, one nation" as they "not only share common culture and faith but also have similar interests and challenges.
"The Air Chief was addressing a meeting comprising board members of the Association of Justice Defenders and Strategic Studies Center (ASSAM) in Turkey. The Pak Air Chief said that Pakistan fully supports Turkey on Cyprus and other regional issues and also stands by Ankara in its war against terrorism. (ANI)