ISLAMABAD: Former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif was not sent to Saudi Arabia in an official capacity by the government but accepted his new job as the head of the Islamic military alliance as a personal assignment.
This was reportedly stated by Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, during an in-camera briefing to members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee which met under the chair of Senator Nuzhat Sadiq on Wednesday.
According to members of the committee, who spoke after the briefing, Aziz told the senators that Pakistan has set a neutral policy in the recent rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Moreover, Aziz informed the Senate that the parliamentary resolution on the Saudi-Yemen issue, passed in April of 2015, is the central point of Pakistan’s policy on the issue.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, along with Egypt, Bahrain and UAE, cut off all ties with Qatar over its alleged support of extremism and terrorism, as well as ties with Iran.
The diplomatic and business boycott was later adopted by Yemen, one of the Libyan governments, Maldives and Mauritius.
Kuwait is attempting to play the role of a mediator and hopes to diplomatically resolve the crisis among the Gulf Cooperation Council members.
Qatar has denied the claims made by Saudi Arabia and the other states, but hopes to resolve the crisis fearing an economic downturn.
In May this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the Riyadh Summit where US President Donald Trump and leaders of several Islamic countries met to discuss regional security issues.
Following the summit, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan had criticised the premier for failing to explain Pakistan’s neutral position at the meeting where Trump accused Iran of fuelling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” and called for its international isolation.
During a media talk, when asked to comment on the army’s point of view regarding Gen (retd) Sharif heading the the Saudi-led Islamic military coalition, Imran said during his meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa, he was told “Raheel’s role [in the coalition]will be to curtail conflict in the Muslim world.”