Senators question General Raheel's role in Saudi military alliance

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Former General Raheel Sharif with Muhammad Bin Salman
Lawmakers on Tuesday raised questions over the role of former army chief Raheel Sharif as head of the Saudi military alliance in the absence of any formal Terms of Reference (ToRs) governing the operations of the coalition.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, briefing the Senate on the matter, said that the ToRs governing operations of the Islamic military alliance had not been finalised as yet.

There must be a meeting between member nations and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in order for the ToRs to be finalised, which has not been possible, he said, adding that Parliament would be briefed regarding the ToRs for the alliance.

Lawmakers questioned why the former army chief had been sent to Saudi Arabia prior to finalisation of the ToRs, with Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani questioning why Raheel Sharif was in Saudi Arabia if he was not yet leading any army and ToRs had not been finalised

Rabbani asked how the government was able to send a former army chief with knowledge of nuclear matters to a sensitive area without even knowing the ToRs.

“What if the ToRs are not in the interest of Pakistan’s national security? What will you do then? You have already sent Raheel Sharif to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar asked why Raheel Sharif had announced 10 months prior to his retirement that he would not be looking for an extension in his tenure as army chief.

What was the purpose of making the announcement so far in advance, he asked, particularly if no offers had been made to him at that point?

Babar asked whether Sharif wished to signal his availability post-retirement to Saudi Arabia and whether the announcement was made for the benefit of the Saudi leadership.

The senator called for an investigation into the matter.

Senator Ilyas Bilour said lawmakers would not allow there to be any sectarian conflict, and asserted that TORs against Iran would not be acceptable. “The country will be destroyed if there is sectarian conflict,” he said.

Originally Posted on SuchTv

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