Wednesday, 16 August, 2017

Pakistan's ex-army chief allowed to lead Saudi-led alliance

File pic of Gen. Raheel Sharif India Tv File pic of Gen. Raheel Sharif
Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 19:59

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the NOC for the retired general to take over the command of the military alliance of Muslim countries.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News that Sharif had been "given permission to head the military alliance after due process".

Sharif, who has army chief for three years till his retirement on November 29, 2016, left for Riyadh on Friday on a special aircraft and was accompanied by his wife and mother.

Asif had said that the Saudi government would hold a grand meeting in May, where it would unveil the alliance's Terms of Reference (ToR).

The prime minister said that our government has focused on improving Hajj facilities and expressed satisfaction over last year's Hajj arrangements. He also advised the Ambassador to work with utmost dedication for the welfare of Pakistani Diaspora with particular attention to education of their children.

Speaking to Ambassador-designate to Saudi Arabia, Khan Hasham, in the capital today, he said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other during testing times, Radio Pakistan reported.

A statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA in December 2015 said the new coalition would have 34 members, though more have joined since then.

Recently, Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost met Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa during which the envoy was assured that ties with Iran would remain unaffected.