ISLAMABAD: Iran has expressed its concern over Pakistan’s ex-army chief Raheel Sharif’s appointment as the head of Saudi-led military alliance.
According to Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA, Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has expressed reservations on issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Pakistani government for appointing Gen (retd) Sharif as the head of Saudi-led military alliance.
Honardoost, as quoted by the agency, said that it was correct that Pakistan had contacted Iranian officials before issuing the NOC, but it did not indicate that Iran was satisfied with this decision or it had accepted the same.
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He said that Tehran had informed Islamabad that Iran would not become a part of any alliance like the ‘military alliance’ nor such kind of offer was extended to Iran.
He strongly believed that all important Islamic countries should come together to form a coalition of peace to resolve their issues rather forming a controversial military alliance.
On March 25, Pakistan consented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in writing that the country has no objection over General (retd) Raheel Sharif as being head of the Saudi led military alliance.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in a statement said that General (retd) Raheel Sharif had been allowed to lead the 34-nation Islamic military alliance.
The minister said it is only a matter of time before the former army chief will leave for Saudi Arabia to “put a structure in place for the alliance.”
In 2015, Saudi Arabia had announced the formation of the coalition to combat terrorism and Pakistan was made a member of the coalition. Riyadh and its Gulf Arab neighbours have been locked in warfare with Iran-allied rebels in neighbouring Yemen.
The Saudi statement described the military alliance’s objectives as: “a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations, whatever their sect and name, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent.”