Ex-Pak Army chief Raheel Sharif appointed head of Saudi military alliance
Former Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif has been appointed head of a 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, defence minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday.
The Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), created by Saudi Arabia in December 2015 to combat the Islamic State and other groups, currently has 39 members, including Turkey and Malaysia. It is based at a command centre in Riyadh.
Asif said that a formal agreement in this regard was finalised a few days back, but he refused to divulge in details. He further said that the government was also taken into confidence prior to the appointment as per the rules.
The defence minister said that any such assignment or posting requires proper clearance from the government and General Headquarters (GHQ) both and confirmed that the due process was followed before finalising the agreement. He was, however, unaware of the exact details.
“I do not know the details, this was finalised two or three days ago. So I don’t want to comment too much on it,” said Asif
The Pakistan government and the army top brass had given their consent for the appointment as retired officers can take up such assignments within two years of stepping down only with the government’s assent, he said.
After initial reluctance, Pakistani government confirmed its participation in the newly formed military alliance of Muslim countries.
The scope of Pakistan’s role in the alliance would be defined after Riyadh shared the details of the coalition, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi had told media persons. Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archrival, is absent from the states named as participants.