Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir informed Senate on Friday that the 41-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) will not take part in unrelated military operations.

In a written reply submitted to the upper house, Dastgir said that the alliance has been formed to fight terrorism across the world and while the terms of reference (ToRs) for the alliance are yet to be finalised, it has been said that "it will not take part in unrelated military operations"

Dastagir's reply was in accordance with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif's earlier speech on the matter.

A request for a no-objection certificate (NOC) for retired Gen Raheel Sharif's appointment as the head of the Saudi-led military alliance was received by the defence ministry through the interior ministry on April 14, read the reply.

"After a discussion between the defence ministry and General Headquarters (GHQ) on April 18, the former army chief was granted an NOC, allowing him to lead the alliance."

The conference between member nations to discuss ToRs for the military alliance is yet to happen as the group is still going through the process of formation, the defence minister informed.

According to the information provided by Saudi Arabia, the alliance will only fight terrorism, thus it is expected that the ToRs for it will only be regarding the eradication of terrorism from the world, he added.

On this, Senator Farhatullah Babar maintained that his question regarding the possibility of calling Gen Raheel back from the assignment if need be, has yet to be answered by the concerned ministries.

Rabbani annoyed over absence of ministers

The absence of various ministers during the question hour in Senate annoyed Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and led to the suspension of the session for 15 minutes.

Once the Senate session formally commenced, the chairman had asked if anyone from the Interior Ministry was present to respond to questions.

Upon finding out that neither the interior minister nor the state minister for interior were present, the chairman suspended the proceedings for 15 minutes.

The Senate chairman also threatened to exercise his powers to suspend the two absent ministers from the Upper House.

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