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Govt asked to explain Gen Sharif’s post in Saudi-led alliance

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani directly asked the government on Monday whether former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif had sought permission from the federal government or taken it into confidence over his reported appointment as commander of the 39-nation Saudi-led military alliance.

Asking Defence Minister Khawaja Asif to keep in mind the rules for a retired officer seeking an appointment, he asked whether “a no objection certificate was issued and the federal government was taken into confidence?” The government is expected to respond tomorrow (Wednesday).

“I heard your statement on TV and you were not clear yourself,” Mr Rabbani remarked, addressing the defence minister, adding that a contradictory statement from PM’s aide Dr Musaddiq Malik had made the matter even more ambiguous.

The Senate chairman also asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify what would be the implications of the decision in terms of foreign policy and its effect on a decision, taken at the joint sitting of parliament, not to become part of any such alliance.
Dar hopeful ex-COAS will fulfil constitutional and legal requirements before accepting the offer

There has so far been no official confirmation of the fact that Gen Sharif will assume command of the alliance. During a Geo News programme on Friday, Khawaja Asif had indirectly confirmed the appointment.

On Monday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar indicated the government is unaware of the general’s reported decision.

In a Samaa TV programme, Mr Dar expressed ignorance about the Saudi offer to Gen Sharif. He, however, felt certain that Gen Sharif would consult the government and fulfil legal and constitutional requirements before taking any decision on leading the military coalition.

He revealed that Saudi Arabia wanted Gen Sharif to head the coalition while he was army chief. “Basically when he was in service, the government of Saudi Arabia wanted him to head the coalition forces of Islamic countries while discharging his duties as COAS.

“It was consensus among Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the government and the then COAS that it would be a conflict of interests,” Mr Dar said, adding that it was not fair for him to head a coalition force comprising 34 or 39 countries while being the COAS.

Also on Monday, the upper house unanimously adopted an amendment to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) law, which makes it obligatory for the authority’s executive committee to meet at least once in three months to oversee the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).

The authority has two principal bodies, namely the board headed by the prime minister for policy guidelines, and the executive committee headed by the interior minister for the implementation of those policies.

The amendment moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar makes it mandatory for the executive committee to meet and oversee policy implementation involving all stakeholders in all provinces.

Speaking on the amendment, Mr Babar said that the board of governors — headed by the prime minister — had not met even once over the past two years, while the executive committee was not even mandated to meet regularly, due to which fight against militancy had been gravely undermined. This had also attracted the ire of the Qazi Faez Isa-led commission.

The Senate also passed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2015, moved by Senator Sassui Palijo, aimed at restructuring the regulator. Under the bill, the authority shall consist of four members; one from each of the four provinces, to be appointed by the federal government in consultation with the provincial governments concerned. The chairperson shall be appointed from among the members for a period of one year, by rotation.

courtesy : dawn news

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