Pakistan’s ex-army chief Raheel Sharif to lead Sunni Nato against Shia Muslim World!

Raheel Sharif to lead Sunni Nato against Shia

General Raheel Sharif, the former Pakistani army chief, will be the first commander of the “Muslim Nato”, a fledgling military alliance of mostly Sunni Islamic states led by Saudi Arabia.

Sharif, who arrived in Saudi Arabia as a royal guest in a special plane, attended a grand reception being hosted in his honour in Riyadh, the capital of the kingdom. The reception will also be attended by members of the royal family.

In December 2015 the Saudi defence minister, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced the formation of an alliance of Muslim-majority countries – which now numbers 39 – ostensibly aimed at fighting extremist groups like ISIL, but widely seen as a show of force against Shia-majority Iran.

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.

The Joint Command Centre, headquarters of the military alliance, is located in Riyadh.

 The Saudi-led coalition, involving several Arab nations, launched a military operation in Yemen in March 2015 after Tehran-supported Houthis drove out the government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is believed to be in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Friday confirmed the recent development that former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif was made the chief of 39-nation Islamic military coalition formed to combat terrorism.

The announcement led to a flood of criticism of Raheel Sharif, a general who until recently had been lauded for his three years leading Pakistan’s half a million-strong army.