Why Pakistan allowed General Raheel Sharif to command Islamic Military Alliance

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Why Pakistan allowed General Raheel Sharif to command Islamic Military Alliance

LONDON: The chief of Pakistan Army’s media wing, Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan attaches value to relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, and General (retd) Raheel Sharif’s appointment as head of the Saudi-led military coalition will help remove confusions.

Maj Gen Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), was briefing the Pakistani media at the Pakistan High Commission here on General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s official visit to the UK. He was accompanied by Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas.

Answering a question, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that more than 16 months ago, the Saudi government had approached Pakistan about the Saudi-led alliance while Raheel Sharif was still the army chief.

He said Pakistan enjoys cordial relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the decision taken by Pakistan to allow Raheel Sharif to head the Saudi-led military alliance has been taken in the national interest aimed at bringing various countries closer rather than encouraging friction and hostility.

He assured that Raheel Sharif’s appointment would serve as a bridge between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Pakistani authorities are speaking to Iran at all levels to allay any fears. He said Pakistan values friendship with Iran and Saudi Arabia and wants both countries to become friends too. He added the new coalition would not do anything jeopardising relations between the two Islamic countries.

The ISPR chief said the capability of terrorists has been dented to such an extent that they are just reduced to carrying out small-scale, cowardly attacks using explosives. He said the armed forces and intelligence services are focused on eliminating sleeper cells as well as handlers and facilitators of terrorism and extremism.