ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday said it was part of the Saudi Arabia-led military alliance to counter terrorism, with sources confirming that the first task of the coalition would be to curb terrorism funded by Saudi Arabia in Pakistan.
Addressing a weekly media briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the basic purpose of the coalition was to counter terrorism. “Terms of reference have been finalised. We have been informed by Saudi Arabia that we are a part of it (the alliance),” he said.
On claims about its first task on Pakistani soil the spokesperson said: “I have read the statements. I think it has been too obviously and undiplomatically phrased. But of course we will only do what’s in the best interests of Pakistan, especially when we are informed about our best interests on time.”
However, sources within the Islamic military coalition set to be spearheaded by former Army Chief Gen (r) Raheel Sharif maintain that Pakistan would be the first place where the cleansing operation would start.
“Why else would a Pakistani be appointed to lead the coalition? Why would Pakistan worry about terrorism abroad if it continues to flourish in its own backyard,” a source said. “The idea is to root out terrorism in Pakistan, and for that the most obvious action would be to cut the funding for these groups from Saudi Arabia.”
A source within the Defence Ministry also confirmed the decision and lauded it.
“I can’t think of two better countries to address Saudi Arabia’s funding of jihadist groups in Pakistan, than Saudi Arabia and Pakistan,” the official said.