General (retd) Raheel Sharif didn’t yet seek NOC to head Arab Coalition Force: Defence Minister

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General (retd) Raheel Sharif didn’t yet seek No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the federal government to head Arab Coalition Force led by Saudi Arabia, according to the Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

While giving a statement in Senate on Wednesday, the minister said that the defence ministry had not yet received any request from the former COAS to grant NOC to head the 39-nation Islamic military coalition.

The defence minister said that if any request was received in that regard, it would be dealt with according to the rules.

Khawaja Asif said that the defence ministry had specific rules to hire services of retired armed forces officers within the country and in such cases NOC was required before taking up the new responsibility. However, he added, the rules were silent about those who seek employment abroad.

The minister said that the former COAS had performed Umrah on the invitation of Saudi Arabia and he had informed the government about that.

Responding to a Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani’s query that had Raheel Sharif sought any permission from the government, the minister said that the former COAS had sought permission for going on Umrah but had not yet informed the ministry or General Headquarters (GHQ) about any offer to him by Saudi Arabia to lead the coalition force.

When Chairman Raza Rabbani asked the minister whether Raheel Sharif had informed his parent organisation in that regard, the minister said, “No, he (Raheel Sharif) has not intimated.”

The Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also informed the House that no formal request had so far been received for NOC from General (retd) Raheel Sharif.

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