Raheel Sharif did not seek govt approval to join Saudi alliance: Khawaja Asif

Published: January 11, 2017
Former chief of Army Staff General (retd) Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ONLINE

Former chief of Army Staff General (retd) Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ONLINE

In a shift from his earlier statement, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Wednesday former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif did not seek government’s permission before joining the Saudi-led military alliance.

“Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif did not submit any application for a no objection certificate (NOC). There’s nothing in our notice,” the defence minister said in response to Senate chairman Raza Rabbani’s request for a clarification on the matter.

If the former COAS applies for the NOC, it will be decided according to the law, said Asif, adding Gen (retd) Raheel had returned to the country after performing Umrah.

Gen Raheel to head Saudi-led anti-terror force: Khawaja Asif

In 2015, Saudi Arabia had announced the formation of a 34-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.

“I did not have complete information then…was not prepared for the question,” Asif told Geo News, explaining his earlier statement. “Neither the Saudi government nor Raheel Sharif have approached us. As of now, we have not been confronted with such a situation.”

Speaking in a television talk show last week, Asif had confirmed that that the former army chief 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.

Parliamentary leaders question Raheel Sharif’s likely appointment as head of Saudi military alliance

Questioning whether the government’s permission was sought before the former army chief ‘accepted’ the role, Rabbani had asked Asif as to who confirmed his appointment and what the rules were for a retired military officer to take up such a position.

Rabbani sought a clarification from the Defence Ministry as to “whether any no objection certificate (NoC) was ever issued to Gen (retd) Raheel before he embarked upon a journey for a job in Saudi Arabia and if issued, who did so. And was the government taken into confidence in this context?”

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Reader Comments (13)

  • James
    Jan 11, 2017 - 4:50PM

    Pakistan must stay away from sectarian issues.
    We must work in a force which is peace keeping muslim force but not agressive force.
    There should be no limelight of his job. He will not issue any statement against anyone. He must not head a comtroversial league but Low Profile Job or Advisor job is acceptable.
    His decisions should not come public and he must not drag pakistan in anything. Its a sensitive topic. He can do this on his individual basis but pakistan must not be linked.Recommend

  • NR
    Jan 11, 2017 - 4:51PM

    Kh Asif has very cleverly maligned the popular General.. We all know how Khawaja and his masters feels about the popularity of the army within the nations and they just cant bear it…. Recommend

  • Sad but true
    Jan 11, 2017 - 5:27PM

    The headlines says it all: Rulers do not need approval from peons.Recommend

  • nadeem
    Jan 11, 2017 - 5:53PM

    Raheel Sharif did not overthrow the civilian government while he had the opportunity. As if this favor was not big enough, Rabbani also wants the general to get a NOC before taking up an overseas job. And to add insult to injury, he wants the NOC to come from the institution that paid the general’s salary (and now his pension), meaning Ministry of Defence. These civilians just don’t stop playing with fire. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ebad
    Jan 11, 2017 - 6:11PM

    Which government????Recommend

  • Qaiser Ahmed
    Jan 11, 2017 - 6:51PM

    Khawaja, should apologize for his earlier statement.But, of course, he will not. In any event, he should be removed from his position as the defense minister.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jan 11, 2017 - 8:16PM

    Khawaja contradicts his statement just like his Prime Minister is in the habit of doing either in Parliament or during addresses to the nationRecommend

  • Frank
    Jan 11, 2017 - 10:02PM

    Pakistan must be a part of the alliance to control Iran. Iran is out of control, dangerous and a threat to all, including Pakistan. Raheel Sharif heading this Islamic force completely counters the Indo-Iranian alliances attempts to isolate Pakistan. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our Saudi allies.Recommend

  • Zif
    Jan 11, 2017 - 10:51PM

    Khawaja Asif back tracking on what he said earlier. Or is it a way of embarrassing general sahib?Recommend

  • Bharat
    Jan 12, 2017 - 6:54AM

    general Raheel is a great man. He has served Pakistan well.

    He should not retire, but instead serve the alliance against IranRecommend

  • James
    Jan 12, 2017 - 7:08AM

    If Saudis add Iran then its a real force and Raheel must accept it. Otherwise he should still join it and do the good work and protect muslims all around the world.

    Send forces to Myanmar and Help poor Rohingya muslims / innocent people from Crises.
    Send forces to Central African Republic to protectpoor innocent people.
    Send forces to Kashmir for Peace Enforcement.
    Send forces to finish Daesh.
    Send forces to Palestine to Enforce Peace.

    No Point Clashing with Other United forces but it should be a kind of Extension of Nato which will focus only in Bringing or Enforcing Oeace rather than distroying cities and people.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Jan 12, 2017 - 8:41AM

    Is this the confidence induced in him by the “aala adlia” regarding Panama? Recommend

  • Frank
    Jan 13, 2017 - 8:57PM

    The alliance against Iran is not sectarian. It is a necessary counter measure to a very real threat to all
    regional countries from Iran. Just look at what Iran has done to Syria and Iraq. Recommend

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