Former Army chief of Pakistan General (retired) Raheel Sharif had been made the chief of 39-nation Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif confirmed to local media on Friday.

Raheel Sharif
Image source: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Flickr

Speaking during a talk show at Geo TV, Asif admitted that an agreement in this regard was finalised few days back; however, the defence minister said he didn’t have much information at the moment about the details of the said agreement.

Khawaja Asif said that the decision was taken after taking the current government into confidence and “it was finalised here first”.

The defence minister further said that such assignments or postings require proper clearance both from the government and General Headquarters (GHQ) and confirmed that the due process was followed before finalising the agreement. He was, however, unaware of the exact details.

“As you are aware that this thing was in the pipeline for quite some time and the prime minister was also part of the deliberations,” The defence minister said.

He was of the opinion that formation of such an alliance is a good step, as the “Muslim Ummah is in a spot of bother right now and needs unity among its ranks”.

Pakistan initially found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

However, after initial ambiguity, the government had confirmed its participation in the alliance, but had said that the scope of its participation would be defined after Riyadh shared the details of the coalition it was assembling.

Raheel Sharif was immensely popular among ordinary Pakistanis and turned himself into a cult hero by restoring relative peace in the country.