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Former army chief Raheel Sharif calls on Gen Bajwa at GHQ

Updated February 11, 2019

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Commander of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition Raheel Sharif meets Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ. — Photo: ISPR
Commander of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition Raheel Sharif meets Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ. — Photo: ISPR

Former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif, who heads a 41-nation Saudi-led military coalition, called on Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

"During the meeting matters of mutual interest including regional peace and stability were discussed," the press release said.

Gen Bajwa in his conversation with Gen Sharif appreciated the efforts of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition (IMCTC) towards regional peace and security, according to the military's media wing.

The visit of Gen Sharif, who is the commander-in-chief of IMCTC, comes ahead of a scheduled visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is expected to arrive in Pakistan sometime this week.

A source within the Saudi Embassy told DawnNewsTV on Monday that the prince's exercise equipment, furniture and other personal belongings have reached Islamabad, while his security team and Saudi media representatives have also arrived in the capital ahead of his two-day visit.

The Saudi military alliance

The 41-nation armed coalition was initially proposed as a platform for security cooperation among Muslim countries and included provisions for training, equipment and troops, and the involvement of religious scholars for devising a counter-terrorism narrative.

The appointment of Raheel Sharif as the leader of the Saudi-led alliance in 2017 had sparked a debate over how the move will impact Pakistan's foreign policy, and whether it was fully sanctioned by the parliament.

In December last year, during the visit of a Senate delegation to the IMCTC headquarters in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, Gen Sharif had denied the impression that the military coalition that he heads was established to counter a specific country or sect.