Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch on Saturday said if former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif accepts the appointment as head of a 39-nation military alliance of Muslim states he will become controversial.

“If Raheel Sharif takes up the appointment, he will become controversial and I feel it might lessen the respect he has earned,” said Baloch while speaking on DawnNews Doosra Rukh.

Baloch said he has had a good relations with Sharif as he served as Baloch’s chief of staff when he was a corps commander.

“For us he has become a source of pride and we would never want his reputation to suffer,” added the minister for states and frontier regions.

Baloch also expressed concern and said the appointment as head of the alliance will not have the same chances of success as in the Pakistan Army as it will be a “hop scotch alliance and we do not know what the system will be”.

Earlier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the government had given its green signal for Sharif to take charge as head of the military alliance of Muslim states.

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

The headquarters of the military alliance would be based in Riyadh.

Pakistan had initially found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

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 Saudi government had surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Iran, Saudi Arabia's archrival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.

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