ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan Army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif, who is currently heading a Saudi-led 41-nation Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s two-day visit to Pakistan.
During the meeting, PM Khan and Gen (r) Sharif exchanged views on regional peace and stability besides discussing matters of mutual interest.
Gen Raheel also called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi separately and exchanged views on regional peace and stability besides other matters of mutual interest.
The former Pakistan Army chief arrived in Islamabad on Sunday leading an IMCTC delegation, and has been busy meeting political and military leaderships since then.
Prior to meeting the prime minister on Tuesday, he met Foreign Minister Qureshi at the Foreign Office.
Gen Raheel informed Qureshi about the measures that are being taken by the Islamic coalition against terrorism, said a statement by the Foreign Office. It added that Qureshi “lauded the efforts of the coalition force to establish peace and stability in the region”.
The two also talked about the importance of regional peace and stability and other matters of mutual interest.
The former army chief then met Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani at the latter’s chamber at the Parliament House. The meeting was attended by members of Senate and IMCTC.
On Monday, Gen Raheel met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
A press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that “matters of mutual interest including regional peace and stability” were discussed during Gen Sharif’s meeting with Gen Bajwa.
“COAS appreciated the efforts of Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition towards regional peace and security,” the ISPR added.
Crown Prince Salman will arrive in Islamabad on Feb 16. This will be his first visit to Pakistan after becoming the crown prince in June 2017. He will later travel to Malaysia before going to Delhi on Feb 19.
His visit is being given extraordinary importance because of the investment commitments he is expected to make. Riyadh is planning to set up a massive refinery in Gwadar with an investment of $10 billion — the biggest by the kingdom in Pakistan to date.
Gen (r) Raheel was made the chief of the 41-nation coalition in 2017 while the alliance was formed in 2015.
The coalition was initially proposed as a platform for security cooperation among Muslim countries and included provisions for training, equipment and troops, and the involvement of religious scholars for devising a counter-terrorism narrative.
Raheel Sharif’s appointment as the commander-in-chief of the Saudi-led alliance had sparked a debate over how the move will impact Pakistan’s foreign policy, and whether it was fully sanctioned by the parliament.