Srinagar: Pakistan’s recently-retired army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif has accepted to take the command of Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) on certain terms, a media report said on Wednesday.
Gen (r) Raheel has gained worldwide popularity due to his remarkable counterinsurgency tactics that helped reduce violence in Pakistan to its lowest level since 2006 with an overall decline of 70% in terrorist attacks under his tenure, the report said.
The former army chief has expressed his willingness to take the charge of the 39-nation military alliance, IMAFT, only if he is also empowered to play the role of an arbitrator between the belligerent groups in the Middle East, the reported quoted anonymous sources, adding that Gen Raheel has clearly refused to command a force which fights for a single country.
Meanwhile, Iran has also assured to accept Pakistan’s role in mediating Yemen crisis if the general takes IMAFT’s command with an authority of arbitrator, the report further said. Iran, through its consulate in Pakistan, sent a letter to the ex-COAS and assured that it will not only cooperate with Pakistan in controlling the Yemen crisis but will also bring the Houthi rebels on negotiating terms if he takes the command of this Islamic military alliance, the report said.
General Raheel Sharif had expressed his willingness for the arbitration during his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, while Turkish leadership has also been conveyed the development in this regard, the report added.
The proposal was first presented to Gen Raheel by Saudi Arabia and then similar requests were made by Iran to Pakistan’s foreign ministry as well, the report said.
However, the general will only accept the offer if he is also allowed to mediate between the warring groups, the report added.
Founded by Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud on 15 December 2015, Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) is based at a joint command centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the report said.
The creation of this 34-nation alliance was first announced by Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Miner of Defense, on 15 December 2015. By March 2016, this had risen to 39, the report said.
Besides Pakistan, the members of this Muslim military alliance include: with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Turkey, Bahrain, Bangladesh, UAE, Libya, Malaysia, Egypt and Jordan, the report added.