Development News Edition
Give Feedback

Sharif did not obtain NOC from Cabinet before joining Saudi-led military alliance, SC told

After the retirement in 2016, Gen (retd) Sharif left for Riyadh to head a military alliance of Muslim countries led by Saudi Arabia.

PTI 07 Aug 2018, 12:19 PM Pakistan

Pakistan's former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif did not obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Cabinet before leaving for Saudi Arabia to head a 41-nation military alliance, the attorney general informed the Supreme Court today.

The apex court had asked the government last week how it allowed Gen (retd) Sharif and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (retd) Shuja Pasha to take up jobs abroad despite a law barring officers from accepting employment for two years post-retirement.

After the retirement in 2016, Gen (retd) Sharif left for Riyadh to head a military alliance of Muslim countries led by Saudi Arabia.

During the hearing of a suomotu case regarding the dual nationality of civil servants and judges, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said that as per the law, the NOC is issued by the federal government to government officers willing to join service in foreign lands, Dawn reported.

He said that it is required for the NOC to be approved by the Cabinet under government service rules.

Khan presented the legal perspective after defense secretary Lt Gen (retd) Zamirul Hassan informed the court that it was the defense ministry which had granted NOC to Gen (retd) Sharif after Army Headquarters (GHQ) cleared him to accept the post of commander of the military alliance.

Speaking about Pasha, the secretary told the court that the former ISI chief has informed in his reply that he is currently unemployed.

According to media reports, after retirement in 2012, the former ISI chief worked with a multinational firm based in the UAE. He now serves as group chief adviser to a Lahore-based firm owned by a Pakistani politician.

The court had asked the defense secretary to furnish the NOCs issued by the government to Sharif and Pasha for joining foreign jobs.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered authorities that the matter of Sharif's appointment be placed before the federal cabinet for a regular approval (or disapproval).

"We have to proceed according to the law," he said during the hearing, observing that the authority of the federal government is controlled by the Cabinet. He said the matter at hand was of an urgent nature.

The hearing was adjourned till an unannounced date after the summer vacations as the attorney general and defense secretary sought time to refer the matter of NOC to the cabinet, the paper said.

Sharif's appointment as the leader of the Saudi-led military alliance sparked debate over how the move will impact Pakistan's foreign policy, and whether it was fully sanctioned by parliament.

His appointment had been criticised by some Pakistani politicians, retired army officers, journalists, intellectuals.

The Saudi-led coalition was envisaged to serve as a platform for security cooperation, including the provision of training, equipment and troops, and involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.

The Saudi government had surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch-rival 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. Syria was also missing from the list of member states.

Pakistan has good ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The then defense minister Khawaja Asif had defended the Gen (retd.) Sharif's appointment, saying it was an administrative decision and not linked to the conflict in Yemen.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

add banner