Monday, January 17, 2022

Gen Sharif’s appointment as Saudi-led alliance chief questioned

Islamabad, Jan 10 (IANS) Pakistan’s Senate Chairman on Monday asked the Defence Minister under what rules was former army chief Raheel Sharif was appointed as head of a Saudi-led 39-nation Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif confirmed on Friday the former army chief’s appointment to head the 39-nation coalition force, and said the decision was taken with the consent of both the Army’s General Headquarters and the government of Pakistan.

General Sharif had spearheaded a campaign against militants at home.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani asked the Defence Minister to inform the upper house of Parliament under which rules a retired officer of Pakistan had taken up such a job. He sought a briefing on the matter from the Defence Minister on Tuesday.

“Whether Gen. Sharif sought permission prior to taking up the job or was an NoC issued to him?” Rabbani asked. “And, if an NOC was issued, then who issued it?”

He enquired if the government was taken into confidence on the appointment of the former army chief.

The Senate Chairman also demanded the advisor on foreign affairs to brief the house on the possible implications of the appointment.

The alliance’s formation was first reported in December 2015, with Middle Eastern, African and Asian states — including Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Pakistan, Egypt — being part of the then 34-nation coalition.

The objective of the Saudi-led alliance was “to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism”.

The Joint Command Centre, headquarters of the military alliance, is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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