Raheel Sharif's appointment to Saudi-led military alliance a state decision, says DG ISPR

Updated Jun 21 2017

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Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor in London. -ISPR
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor in London. -ISPR

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Wednesday that the appointment former army chief General Raheel Sharif as head of the 39-nation coalition of Muslim countries is a decision of the state.

"Raheel Sharif's appointment to the Saudi-led military alliance is a decision of the state of Pakistan," said Ghafoor.

The military spokesman was giving a press briefing in London during Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to the United Kingdom.

He also said that the country wishes for better relationship with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The senior army officials said that "Pakistan does not believe in proxy wars".

Ghafoor, while talking to media personnel, said Pakistan wishes for better relations with India and Afghanistan.

"Pakistan does not want to create tensions and the region and does not believe in proxy wars," said DG ISPR.

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.