Pakistan to send deminers to Lebanon

Pakistani army engineers are being dispatched to Lebanon after a request by the government in Beirut to clear unexploded bombs and mines, the government said Monday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslan dismissed suggestions that the Pakistanis would serve in the expanded United Nations military mission that is being deployed in southern Lebanon. Israel has demanded that Muslim countries that do not recognize the Jewish state not participate in the force, known as UNIFIL. "This is not a peacekeeping mission," Aslan said. "This mission is being set up at the specific request of the Lebanese leadership." The issue was first raised on Saturday, when Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz announced the government would send "hundreds" of Pakistani army engineers to Lebanon. He said he had been requested to provide the deminers by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora during Aziz's visit to that country.