RIYADH - The final declaration of the Islamic Military Alliance issued on Sunday after the ministers meeting in Riyadh suggested that it would be up to the member states to decide the extent of their participation in the coalition, something that would provide enough room to Pakistan to maintain a delicate balance in its ties — both with Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The alliance’s terms of reference (TORs) were finalised at a meeting of defence ministers of the member countries forming the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).
Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurrum Dastagir represented Pakistan at the daylong meeting presided over by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Suleman.
According to the declaration, the ministers laid stress on the importance of the military role in combating the threat of terrorism, enhancing security and peace in the coalition member countries and contributing towards regional and international security and peace.
“The ministers emphasised the importance of providing necessary military capabilities to ensure that terrorist organisations are weakened, dismantled, eliminated and deprived of the opportunity to reorganise,” it said.
Within the framework of the IMCTC, participation of the coalition states will be defined in accordance with each country’s capabilities and resources, as well as in accordance with each country’s desire to participate in a given military operation.
Pakistan had principally agreed to be part of the coalition but withheld its decision regarding the extent of its role till the ToRs were finalised.
While agreeing to be part of the coalition, Pakistan had all along stated that it would not allow its troops to participate in any military action outside the country. Islamabad also insisted that it would not become part of any initiative aimed at any other Islamic country.
The 41-nation alliance was first announced by Saudi Arabia in December 2015. But key countries such as Iran, Syria and Iraq were not invited to join it, something that strengthened fears that the Saudi initiative was meant to target certain countries.