Pakistan's ex-army chief allowed to lead Saudi-led alliance

Pakistan issues NoC to Raheel Sharif for Saudi alliance

Former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif has left for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to head a 41-nation military alliance on Friday, Aaj News reported.

He also defended the appointment of General Sharif, saying Saudi Arabia is a brotherly Islamic country and the alliance is not against Iran.

Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News that Sharif was given permission to head the military alliance after completion of all legal formalities and requirements.

The issue of General Raheel was a hard decision due to rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran but Pakistan chose to let him join the alliance as its first chief due to close ties with Riyadh.

With a Joint Command Centre headquartered in Riyadh, the coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and other Muslim countries.

The Prime Minister said the two countries have maintained cordial and brotherly relations marked by commonalities on all issues of mutual interest at regional and global level.

Janjua stressed that with his experience General Sharif would remove misunderstandings among Muslim countries.

But Asif said the military coalition "will not act against Iran".

Earlier this week, Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had assured Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost that Pak-Iran ties would "remain unaffected by recent developments".

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

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