Raheel Sharif appointed as the head of Saudi-led 39-nation Islamic military coalition
Pakistan’s former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif has been appointed the chief of 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed to combat terrorism, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif confirmed on Friday.
The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh. Minister Asif said that both the government and army were on board regarding the decision to let General Raheel take charge of the alliance.
Minister Khawaja Asif acknowledged that an agreement in this regard was finalized few days back; however, the defence minister said he didn’t have much information about the details of the said agreement.
Gen Raheel had retired from service last November and was succeeded by the incumbent General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Pakistani leaders were initially taken aback when Saudi Arabia, without proper consultation with them, had announced in 2015 that Islamabad was also part of the new alliance to combat militancy.
However, after initial ambiguity, the government had confirmed its participation in the alliance, but had said that the scope of its participation would be defined after Riyadh shared the details of the coalition it was assembling.
The coalition was envisaged to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including provision of training, equipment and troops, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.
The coalition includes countries like Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen among others.