In a video posted by Geo News on their website Saturday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the government had given its green signal for retired Gen Raheel Sharif to take charge as head of a 39-nation military alliance of Muslim states.

In the video, Asif could be heard saying that the government had agreed "in principle" to the arrangement after receiving a written request from the Saudi government.

However, the minister said official procedures have not yet been completed in this regard.

The coalition was envisaged to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including a provision for training, equipment and troops, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.

“I believe that when Gen Raheel Sharif joins, he will define a structure [for the alliance]", Asif further said.

The defence minister also said that an advisory council of defense ministers of member countries is expected to meet in May to discuss the alliance's future.

Asif had on Jan 11 told Senate that Sharif would be required to seek a no-objection certificate from the government prior to accepting a position as chief of the 39-nation Islamic military coalition.

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

In the same session, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had refused to speak on the issue "as no formal offer had been made by Saudi Arabia in this regard".

The defence minister's statement will be aired in full on Sunday evening at 10pm in a show aired by Geo News.

Opinion

A fragmenting ummah
Updated 23 Jul 2021

A fragmenting ummah

Muslims are suffering in many parts of the world, all of which is known by other Muslims, but that nevertheless continues.
Virtual vultures
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Virtual vultures

Pegasus software has stirred a storm of indignation across the globe.
Shifting goalposts
Updated 20 Jul 2021

Shifting goalposts

Afghanistan is one place where proxy war by regional and bigger powers has always been a constant.

Editorial

India’s admission
Updated 21 Jul 2021

India’s admission

It was no secret that India had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure that Pakistan remained on the grey list.
EU headscarf ban
Updated 23 Jul 2021

EU headscarf ban

Moves by the EU to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims and others in the bloc need to be reviewed.
Disposal of offal
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Disposal of offal

The least people can do is to make an effort and dump entrails in designated areas.
New blow for Pak-Afghan ties
Updated 20 Jul 2021

New blow for Pak-Afghan ties

Islamabad police need to build a watertight case around their final conclusions because the stakes could not have been higher.
20 Jul 2021

FDI decline

THE worrisome, sharp decline in the more permanent, non-debt-creating foreign direct investment, or FDI, should be a...
20 Jul 2021

Another tragic accident

ALMOST every other week, if not every other day, newspapers report deadly road and rail accidents. It has been ...