Gen Raheel Sharif didn't seek govt’s approval to join Saudi alliance, says Pak Defence Minister
Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif today said that former Army chief General Raheel Sharif did not seek the Nawaz Sharif government’s permission to join the 39-country Saudi-led military alliance against terrorism.
Khawaja Asif told the Pakistani Senate that he was not aware of General Sharif seeking no-objection certificate (NOC) from Pakistan government.
"General Raheel Sharif did not submit any application for a no-objection certificate (NOC). There's nothing in our notice," the Defence Minister informed the Senate.
If the former army chief applies for the NOC, it will be decided according to the law, said Asif, adding that General Sharif returned to the country after performing Umrah in Mecca.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a 39-state Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism and Pakistan was made a member of the coalition. Riyadh and its Gulf Arab neighbours have been locked in months of warfare with Iran-allied rebels in neighbouring Yemen, launching hundreds of air strikes there.
Speaking to Geo TV last week, Asif confirmed that Raheel Sharif had been appointed the commander of the Saudi-led 39-nation military coalition to combat terrorism. The government was taken into confidence about the former army chief's new role, he added.
Inquiring if the government's permission was sought before the former army chief "accepted" the role, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani asked Asif as to who confirmed his appointment and what the rules were for a retired military officer to take up such a position.
(With IANS inputs)