PM Abbasi, COAS Bajwa to hold crucial meetings in Saudi Arabia next week

  • Defence minister Khurram Dastgir leaves Saturday for Riyadh to attend launching ceremony of IMCTC

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be traveling to Saudi Arabia next week for a crucial conference on the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).

The inaugural conference of defence ministers of member countries of the Saudi-led alliance is taking place in Riyadh on Sunday. Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, who left for Riyadh today, will represent Pakistan at the daylong conference, which would discuss the possible contours of the military alliance.

The IMCTC is a coalition of 41 Muslim countries against terrorism and violent extremism. The theme of the Sunday’s meeting is “Allied Against Terrorism”.

“Allied against Terrorism”: 41-nation Islamic military alliance marks ‘actual start’ next week

Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud will open the meeting.

The key events and presentations will revolve around the strategy, governance, achievements, plans and initiatives of the Coalition in the domains of ideology, communications, counter-terrorist financing, and military.

Pakistan has principally agreed to be a part of the alliance, but the scope of its participation has yet to be decided. The Riyadh moot will likely finalise the terms of reference after which Islamabad would have to make its final call on the military alliance.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister confirmed that US Defence Secretary James Mattis would be coming to Pakistan on December 3. He said during his visit he would meet the prime minister, the army chief and other officials to advance discussions on bilateral issues as well as cooperation between the two countries on the war on terror.