Raheel Sharif decided to join Saudi-led alliance in personal capacity: Sartaj Aziz

  • Raheel Sharif went to Saudi Arabia in personal capacity, govt did not send him officially
  • Pakistan would follow neutral policy in Yemen-Saudi issue as devised in parliamentary resolution

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Wednesday that former military head Raheel Sharif accepted to lead Islamic military alliance in a personal capacity.

During an in-camera briefing to members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Aziz told the senators that the ruling government did not send Raheel Sharif to Saudi Arabia officially adding that Pakistan had adopted a neutral policy in the recent rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Aziz informed the Senate that the parliamentary resolution on the Saudi-Yemen issue, passed in April of 2015, was the central point of Pakistan’s policy on the issue, according to which Pakistan decided to remain neutral in Saudi-led Yemen war.

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“Pakistan will not get itself involved in matters of other states,” Aziz said, adding that Islamabad will continue to play an active role in resolving the crisis.

Although Sartaj Aziz’s briefing suggests that Raheel Sharif himself relocated to Riyadh for heading the 39 military nation alliance, however, defence minister Khawaja Asif had earlier said that the government issued a No Objection Certificate to Sharif for taking up the assignment.

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Rumours were also rife that Raheel Sharif was making up his mind to leave the alliance owing to a possible sectarian clash between two major factions of Islam.

It bears mentioning that Aziz’s briefing follows a demand by legislators to clarify the position of Pakistan on the growing perception that the military alliance was being formulated to counter Iran as House of Saud and Donald Trump jointly fired a broadside at it during the recent Arab summit.