Days before the formal launch of the Saudi-led coalition against terrorism, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar on Friday asked the defence minister not to make any commitments in Riyadh without first notifying Senate.
The senator also demanded that the government take parliament into confidence regarding the terms of reference (TORs) of the 41-nation ‘pan-Islamic’ coalition.
A meeting of the defence ministers of its member states will mark the formal launch of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition on Sunday.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been the driving force behind the coalition, will inaugurate the meeting. which will be held in Riyadh to outline the coalition’s strategy, governance, activities and future plans.
Pakistan was part of the initial list of 34 countries that had agreed to become part of the coalition. Former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif joined the alliance as its top commander in April this year after the government issued a no-objection certificate for the move.
Speaking during a discussion on issues of public importance, Babar recalled that the defence minister had assured the house that the terms of reference for participation in the alliance will be placed before the Senate before any decision was taken.
Voicing his reservations regarding the coalition, Senator Babar recalled that parliament had questioned why the army chief had been sent to Riyadh before the TORs had been finalised.
“Why shouldn’t the government take the Parliament into confidence before making a commitment to Saudi Arabia?” the senator asked.
The senator noted that the coalition encompasses four key areas: ideology, communications, counter-terrorism financing and military. He said that these areas, particularly ideology, present potential pitfalls and challenges with potential consequences for Pakistan.