Mar 292017
 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday said the appointment of former army chief Raheel Sharif as head of the 39-nation coalition of Muslim countries is an honour for Pakistan.

The finance minister added that certain elements were talking against the country and were damaging its image.

Dar was speaking to a private news channel.

When asked about the extension given to military courts, Dar said the extension in mandate was imperative to address security challenges faced by the country.

The headquarters of the military alliance, structure of which is unclear, would be based in Riyadh.

Pakistan had 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.

The coalition was envisaged to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including provision of training, equipment and troops, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.

The Saudi government had surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Iran, Saudi Arabia's archrival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.

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