RIYADH: Pakistan’s ex-army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif has said the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) will act as a platform to assist member countries in their counter terrorism operations through intelligence sharing and capacity building.
Sharif, who is also the commander-in-chief of the military coalition, was speaking at IMCTC’s first Ministers of Defence Council being held under the theme of ‘Allied Against Terrorism’ in Riyadh.
“All individual states are making efforts against the menace of terrorism, but the required level of synergy and resources is lacking,” he said at the inaugural meeting of the coalition’s ministers of defence in Riyadh, according to a statement issued by Pakistan’s ministry of defence.
“The IMCTC will act as a platform to assist member countries in their counter terrorism operations through intelligence sharing and capacity building.
Addressing the defense ministers and other high-ranking officials, the Saudi crown prince said that Sunday’s meeting sends “a strong signal that we are going to work together and coordinate together to support each other.”
However, the alliance doesn’t include Iran, Iraq or Syria, while member nation Qatar sent no one to attend the one-day Riyadh gathering amid a diplomatic standoff between Doha and four Arab nations led by the kingdom.
“The biggest danger of this terrorism and extremism is the tarnishing of our beloved religion’s reputation […] We will not allow this to happen,” said the royal who has been the driving force behind this coalition. “Today, we start the pursuit of terrorism and we see its defeat in many facets around, the world especially in Muslim countries. We will continue to fight it until we see its defeat.”
The crown prince also offered his condolences to Egypt, which suffered an attack on Friday by Islamic militants on a mosque in northern Sinai that killed 305 people.
“This is indeed a painful event and it is a recurrent and strong reminder the dangers of this terrorism,” he said.
The alliance described as a “41-nation pan-Islamic coalition” was announced in December 2015.
Pakistan was part of the initial list of 34 countries that had agreed to become part of the coalition.
Gen Raheel Sharif joined the alliance as its top commander in April this year. According to IMCTC, the former chief “presents the Military Domain, which aims to assist in the coordination, of resourcing and planning of military CT operations, facilitate the secure sharing of information, and encourage military CT capacity and capability building.”
Core areas that the IMCTC seeks to address have been identified as ideology, communications, counter terrorist financing and military.