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Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday informed the Senate that former Army chief retired General Raheel Sharif would be required to seek a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government prior to accepting a position as chief of the 39-nation Islamic military coalition.

The minister was providing an explanation to the Senate on media reports that said the former general has been appointed as commander-in-chief of an Arab coalition force led by Saudi Arabia.

The minister clarified that the government was as yet unaware of any development regarding Raheel Sharif's appointment as head of the coalition.

Asif made it clear that under the rules, a retired army officer would have to seek an NOC from the Ministry of Defence before embarking on any new assignment outside the country.

He said the former army chief had returned Pakistan after performing umrah in Saudi Arabia and claimed that his visit to the kingdom had been mistakenly highlighted by the media as an offer by Saudi Arabia for Raheel Sharif to lead the Islamic army.

"The rules laid down by the Ministry of Defence for post-retirement assignments of army officers will be applicable equally to Raheel Sharif," Asif reiterated.

Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani asked the minister whether Raheel Sharif had informed Pakistan Army in this regard.

"No, he has not informed the Army," the minister replied.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed the house that he will not speak on the issue as no formal offer had been made by Saudi Arabia in this regard.

Senator Farhatullah Babar intervened in the debate and said that any possible move by the retired Pakistani general to head a Saudi-led army will be detrimental to a resolution passed by Parliament last year advising Pakistan not to become part of the Middle East conflict.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1


Comments (61) Closed



SAB Jan 11, 2017 05:08pm

Then why did Khawja Asif said in TV program that RS has accepted the post?

fair Jan 11, 2017 05:15pm

@SAB Coz they Think later and give statements first.

khanm Jan 11, 2017 05:21pm

@SAB he says so many thing.. i guess controversy puts in the center point..

Grafello Jan 11, 2017 05:18pm

He's back tracking on his words about what he said earlier in the week. We do not want to be part of anything based on religious divide.

Harmony-1© Jan 11, 2017 05:20pm

All drama being played out in the media to malign Raheel Sharif and his excellent career.

Javed Arshad Jan 11, 2017 05:29pm

No wider our honorable Minister is not taken seriously by most.

Adeeb Hassan Jan 11, 2017 05:37pm

This is to malign Army and an excellent career of Raheel Sharif. We as a nation are in the habit of insulting our heroes let it be anyone from any field.

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Jan 11, 2017 05:38pm

so whats next? will it effect the decision taken by the EX COAS be effected? NO Never. No point of wasting time in senate on such issues. I think senate is not taking the responsibilities and duties seriously. There are other important matters to bring justice and improvement the country.

NR Jan 11, 2017 05:51pm

Kh Asif has very cleverly maligned the reputation of Gen Raheel..

Qasim Jan 11, 2017 05:56pm

Whole thing was not drama it was media test to check the public response and nobody remembered the parliament rrsolution they might have given a green signal to General for heading army.

mhw Jan 11, 2017 06:00pm

@Harmony-1© what excellent career ?

Harmony-1© Jan 11, 2017 06:19pm

@MHW - Indians won't get it!!!

Maverik Jan 11, 2017 06:26pm

Khwaja Asif should be shown the door for behaving irresponsibly - twice in a month time! This is unacceptable.

Observer Jan 11, 2017 06:31pm

It's one thing to seek permission first, but it's another to seek forgiveness later. I think later is the case of Raheel Sharif, and NOC is the request after the fact. All in all, Saudi Royal is a falling empire any association with them is doomed to ridicule.

Ahsan Jan 11, 2017 06:43pm

I appreciate Gen(R) Raheel Sharif's 3 conditions for accepting the most prestigious position as offered by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia . His wisdom of including Iran as one of the participants bears longterm implications. After all Sunnis and Shias are Muslims and we must learn to not only tolerate but respect our brothers. Hats off Raheel sahib

shdhsn Jan 11, 2017 06:49pm

Khawaja Asif needs to think before he speaks.. he is holding an official post... he is the one who leaked the news and now he is making more statements.

East indian Jan 11, 2017 06:56pm

This is an unprecedented scenario where an ex army chief joins another country army chief. That means your country is also at war with same adversaries. Just like Gen D eigenhower commanded the allied forces in WW2

freddy Jan 11, 2017 07:00pm

I only trust Pak army.

Best of luck General Raheel.

PHILOSOPHER (FROM JAPAN) Jan 11, 2017 07:09pm

Pakistan shouldn't involve in proxy wars. Its not in Pakistan's favor for long term consequences.

Vish Jan 11, 2017 07:08pm

He was rated as utmost proffessional.

It is evident that this post has beeen predefined for him hence did not seek for extension .

Haramullah Fattuddin Jan 11, 2017 07:08pm

@Harmony-1© Instead of thinking only on one line, please think other way also in the interest of the nation. Is it right, not to take permission from the Govt. before taking such a post. Or General sahib is bigger than the nation?

syed zafar kazmI U.S Jan 11, 2017 07:11pm

@East indian "That means your country is also at war with same adversaries. Just like Gen D Eisenhower commanded the allied forces in WW2" Perfect analogy.

Pakistani Jan 11, 2017 07:14pm

Quite ironic when people from PMLN talk about rules and regulations.

Asad Jan 11, 2017 07:14pm

People who do not own their words are known as Politicians

Muhammad Jan 11, 2017 07:13pm

I am confident that Gen Raheel will not accept such offer which we had already seen in the case Gen Shuja Pasha he should have also not accepted the offer of UAE government since he was the head of our premier intelligence agency and he was the custodian of lots of state secrets

8-Pass charlie Jan 11, 2017 07:33pm

Khawaja Asif is making matter complex.

jRaza Jan 11, 2017 07:41pm

Is there any announcement from Saudi Government or Rahil Sharif him self?

Ghani k Jan 11, 2017 08:06pm

Why could n't Khawaja Asif wait little longer before opening his mouth. He could have contacted Gen. Raheel Sharif directly after all Khawaja Sahib is minister of defense.

Vishwana Jan 11, 2017 08:15pm

@SAB no politician around the world is straight forward

Masoud Jan 11, 2017 08:12pm

I think un-necessary publicity is being given to this issue. Gen. Raheel Sharif knows better what is good for him & at the same good for Pakistan, he will not take any decision in haste, when the matter becomes official then everything will be clear. Some vested interest is out there to create negativity about Ge. Raheel Sharif. He is a man of principal and determination.

Abbas Naqvi Jan 11, 2017 08:16pm

It is time that Raheel Sharif came forward to clarify the issue himself and put an end to the ongoing debate on whether he should or should'nt take command of the Saudi led military alliance.

Ashfaq Jan 11, 2017 08:22pm

What a credibility Khwaja Asif has got. Apparently it seems this government is intentionally working to malign General Raheel and his old laurels by their false statements

Muzaffar Ali Jan 11, 2017 08:20pm

They first send out a trial balloon.....then check the temperature of the people.

Harmony-1© Jan 11, 2017 08:31pm

@Haramullah Fattuddin - "Is it right, not to take permission from the Govt. before taking such a post."

The General hasn't accepted the post...has he?

He won't accept it unless countries like Iran, Syria are on board. As they won't come on board, so he won't take the position either. In any case he cannot take this position without govt. approval. So, its just a ploy to malign him!

Houlbelat Jan 11, 2017 08:43pm

There is nothing wrong in accepting the job abroad after retirement. It is not something for which we should get sleepless nights. Such matters are settled years in advance and people have been thinking about reasons behind the General not seeking extension or the Government even contemplating about that. Now it is clear.

pak47 Jan 11, 2017 08:50pm

@Sab Does it matter what Khawaja Asif thinks ? Its Raheel Sharif becoming head of Saudi backed alliance. For once admit Generals can make poor decisions.

fahd Jan 11, 2017 09:10pm

And Khawaja Asif opened up showing off as well informed and to stay on news on media recently about this force. Why did u open mouth when u know nothing just to get breaking news.

fahd Jan 11, 2017 09:14pm

Good for nothing defense minister.

Ahsan gul Jan 11, 2017 09:11pm

Regardless of any person's grade or federal position the rules to seek employment after government job be followed. When rules and conditions are changed to fit people then we introduce corruption in our system. And that is exactly going on in Pakistan. People should never be given priorities above the laws. So, GEN must wait at least 2 years to accept this job.

Shampee Jan 11, 2017 09:17pm

Please do not make deliberate efforts in making General Sharif's and Army's reputation low, He cannot violate rule, we believe.

Alba Jan 11, 2017 09:54pm

How is this an assignment? Raheel Sharif is a private citizen first and a retired general officer second. He is not giving away any national secrets. Pakistan did not assign him this job. His integrity does not need to be questioned by politicians. Nawaz Sharif does not need to try and control his every move, and Nawaz Sharif is not paying his salary.

lafanga Jan 11, 2017 09:56pm

Can anyone honestly believe a word Khawaja Asif says publicly or privately?

Ash20 Jan 11, 2017 10:56pm

Mr. Asif himself said on the TV interview that Mr. Sharif is made head of this umrah forces and this was under consideration for some time. General has not taken any NOC and govt. has no courage to stop his appointment until at least he take NOC.

Merchant Jan 11, 2017 11:59pm

@fair PML-N think before they ink!!

Merchant Jan 11, 2017 11:59pm

A big NO to anything which is Saudi led!!

Haider Jan 12, 2017 12:06am

We trust General Raheel Sharif.

syed Jan 12, 2017 12:50am

all incompetent are running the affairs of our Country ..

a Ali Jan 12, 2017 01:33am

funny and confused pmln short on new issues to hood wink us from panama corruption...

RIZ Jan 12, 2017 01:50am

I would like to see Raheel Sharif direct statement about this. It was expected that he will take this job but if I were him I would rather serve my country if don't want to retire. If he takes this role he won't be a retire man. I still have faith on him as he has done tremendous work being as Army Chief.

Kirby Jan 12, 2017 02:47am

Excuse me? If the General is now retired and is a private citizen, how can a parliament resolution be a binding on him that " Pakistan would not participate in Saudi- led conflict"? The General is a private citizen. He can seek an NOC to serve as required and move in to lead any entity.

Amer mahdi Jan 12, 2017 03:12am

Khwaja Asif is such an incompetent minister. He planted this story to make the ex-army chief controversial and damage HIs image...

Ayub Jan 12, 2017 06:40am

Pakistan army is a disciplined institution. It is unbelievable that Raheel Sharif may have bypassed due process of law.

Ahsan Gul Jan 12, 2017 06:51am

No one has intentions to degrade our defense forces or defense personnel let it be clear. Military life is governed only by military laws and rules. Even haircuts are dictated by military rules for military personnel. Again, in military or post military rules are written and must be adhered by all regardless of ranks. Pakistani forces are second to none. We are proud of them. Our civilian leaders have tendencies to violate rules for defense personnel to show favoritism and that is grossly wrong.

Darawal Jan 12, 2017 09:08am

Seems like Khwaja Asif is a loose canon.

MA Jan 12, 2017 09:15am

@Qasim: I totally agreed with you. It was to check the public opinion and reaction

prashant Jan 12, 2017 09:21am

So what? An exception will be made, like always. Rule books are meant for ordinary people not for the powerful lot.

WataNparast Jan 12, 2017 10:08am

No one should be above law. Everyone howsoever powerful should follow procedures and rules.

WataNparast Jan 12, 2017 10:15am

@Harmony-1© : What about a Sindhi like me. I too don't get it as to what an excellent career he had.

Vatsal Jan 12, 2017 10:20am

@Harmony-1© Indians dont need it. We are rocognised by world for our excellence.

aw Jan 12, 2017 10:58am

@SAB - No difference - That was his statement like NS made in the National Assembly that all docs are available in connection with purchases of properties abroad.

Harmony-1© Jan 12, 2017 03:44pm

@WataNparast @Vatsal - Yeah right!