Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said that he will brief the Senate regarding details of former army chief Raheel Sharif’s appointment as head of the 41-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) after a meeting of the member nations.
"I will keep my word and give the Senate the details about the appointment, but after the grand meeting of all the countries that are participating in IMAFT, which is expected in May."
"I was supposed to brief the Senate about the matter today, but the session was postponed,” said the defence minister while speaking on Dunya TV’s Kamran Khan Kay Sath.
"The NOC was given after the General Headquarters gave the go ahead and Gen Raheel has left the country,” added Asif.
Reiterating a point he has made a number of times before, Asif reassured the nation that Pakistan will not violate any previous pacts and will not be a party to any conflicts between two Muslim nations.
Gen Sharif was lauded at home for leading Operation Zarb-i-Azb that centered on North Waziristan, once considered the hotbed of terrorism, but his decision to serve the Saudi-led alliance has been severely criticised.
The alliance, believed to be the brainchild of ambitious Saudi defence minister and deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, was formed to help member states deal with the threat posed by terrorism, but people fear that it may get involved in the Middle East’s political disputes.
Saudi defence forces spokesman Gen Assiri told the Wall Street Journal that the alliance wasn’t restricted to confronting terrorist organisations like the militant Islamic State group and Al Qaeda.
He said the coalition could, at the request of a member, move against rebel groups and militias posing a threat to member countries.
It is pertinent to remember that Iran has publicly expressed its reservations about a Pakistani leading the alliance.