Pakistan

Pakistan nods Raheel Sharif to lead Saudi military alliance

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has 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, ARY News reported on Saturday.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in a statement said that General (retd) Raheel Sharif has been allowed to lead the 34-nation Islamic military alliance.

The government of Saudi Arabia has been informed in writing that the country has no objection over the former army chief’s leading the military alliance.

He further said that the Saudi government had in writing requested Pakistan for the services of Gen Raheel. He said it is a matter between the two governments.

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.”

He said that a meeting of the advisory council of the alliance’s member countries has been expected in Saudi Arabia in May.

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.

Soon after General Sharif completed his term last year, it was reported in December that he would lead the Islamic Military Alliance, which was formed by the Saudis in 2015 to fight terrorism, especially the Islamic State and other militant groups.

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