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Monday Apr 03, 2017

Iran expresses reservations on Raheel Sharif’s role in Saudi military alliance


KARACHI: Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan has expressed reservations on Monday over the role of General (Retd) Raheel Sharif's role as head of the Saudi-led military alliance.

Mehdi Honardoost said, “It was correct that Pakistan had contacted Iranian officials before issuing the NOC, but it did not indicate that Iran was satisfied with this decision or it had accepted the same,” stated a press release issued by the Iran`s official news outlet, Islamic Republic News Agency.

He further said: “All important Islamic countries should come together to form a coalition of peace to resolve their issues rather forming a controversial military alliance.”

The government of Pakistan agreed to give a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) Raheel Sharif to lead a 39-nation alliance of Muslim states led by Saudi Arabia.

The revelation was made by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in Geo News' programme Jirga.

Asif said that in May the advisory board of defence ministers of member countries will attend a meeting held in this regard, adding that the structure of the alliance had not been decided so far. “When General (Retd) Raheel Sharif joins he will define a structure,” he said.

News of the alliance's formation was first reported in December 2015, with reports of Middle Eastern, African and Asian states including Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Pakistan, Egypt being part of the then 34 nation coalition.

Earlier, National Security Advisor (NSA) Nasir Janjua said that General (retd) Raheel Sharif leading the Saudi military alliance will bring unity to the Muslim world.

Janjua stressed that with his experience General (retd) Sharif will remove misunderstandings among Muslim countries.

“Iran and other countries opposed of the alliance will also benefit from this.”

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and other Muslim countries are said to be part of the coalition. The Joint Command Centre, headquarters of the military alliance is located in Riyadh.

The coalition would tackle "the Islamic world's problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge," announced Saudi defence minister and deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud at a press conference in Riyadh in 2015.



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