Pakistan

No ToRs finalized for Saudi-led alliance, says Sartaj

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has assured the Senate that Pakistan would adopt a balanced policy in line with the recommendations of the Parliament with regards its participation in Islamic Military Coalition.

In response to a Calling Attention Notice, the advisor said the 34 members countries alliance was announced in December 2015 but later it was redefined as Islamic Military Coalition as clarified by the Saudi Foreign Minister.

Sartaj Aziz said it was also clarified during the process of framing mechanism that every member would be free to decide its participation in any activity by its free will and without any compulsion.

Any member can opt for an area like training, consultation or military action as per its desire.
Replying to questions by Senator Farhatullah Babar, he said no Terms of Reference (ToRs) or programmes and mechanism had been developed for the coalition by now.

Therefore, there is also no question for ratification. “The government remains committed to take Parliament into confidence prior to ratification of any such ToRs or mechanism.”

He said any informal statement by an authority or official cannot be taken as ToRs or the mechanisms. “The formal position is that no ToRs or purposes have been yet finalized.”

He explained that Pakistan’s policy on this matter is as per guidelines of the Parliament on April 10, 2015 and “We are having a balanced position in our relations with friendly countries yet we remain committed to maintain territorial integrity of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as protection of the Holy Places.”

On appointment of General Raheel Sharif, the advisor said he had vast experience to fight against terrorism. His appointment with the coalition will have no effect on our foreign policy rather his presence there may ensure some sort of balance.

When chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani questioned with regards to Saudi King’s statement about Iran, the advisor said Iran has been mentioned in the resolution, but it does not mean that all countries are joining for an action against Iran. “These are hypothetical questions as there would be choice for members to join an activity.”

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