Dubai: Pakistan government has formally allowed one of the most popular former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif (retd) to lead Saudi military alliance to fight militancy, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Saturday.
Former army chief’s Saudi assignment to lead Islamic Military Alliance has been a matter of controversy in the media. This coalition force was formed by Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud on December 15, 2015.
Sharing the details, the defence minister said Saudi government had sought a written permission from Pakistan which we have given. ‘It is a matter between the two governments and not an individual affair.’
A meeting of Advisory Council of member states is scheduled for May this year, he said. ‘Everything is finalised regarding the coalition.’
Saudi Arabia has also issued Gen Raheel and his wife three-year multiple visas, possibly making him the first Pakistani in ten years, who has been granted this facility in private capacity.
Raheel Sharif will reside in Riyadh where the joint operation centre of this alliance has been established. He will be the alliance’s founding Commander-in-Chief.
Initially when this military alliance was formed, it contained 34 members. With the inclusion of Oman, it has now swelled to 41 members.