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Khurram Dastgir leaves for Riyadh

27 November 2017

Minister for Defence Khurram Dastgir Khan on Sunday assured Saudi Arabia and the member countries of Pakistan's support and cooperation within the mutually agreed framework of Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).

He said that it had just been announced that the defence ministers of the coalition countries would meet in Riyadh on Sunday to formally launch the military alliance and also "outline coalition's strategy, governance, activities and future plans".

He said Muslims and Islamic countries suffer the most from instability and lack of security, citing Friday's deadly mosque attack in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula which left 305 people dead and scores injured.

"Today, we will chase it until terrorism has disappeared from the face of the earth", Prince Salman said.

The alliance was announced in 2015 under the auspices of Prince Mohammed, whose rapid ascent since his appointment as heir to the throne in June has shaken the political scene across the region.

On this occasion, Military Commander of Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition General (Retd) Raheel Sharif said the sole objective of the military coalition was to counter terrorism.

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The alliance groups largely, although not exclusively, Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries. The alliance excludes Saudi Arabia's arch-rival, Shia-dominated Iran, as well as Syria and Iraq, whose leaders have close ties to Tehran.

For years, Saudi Arabia has been accusing Iran of supporting armed groups across the Middle East, including Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi rebels. Pakistan was part of the initial list of 34 countries to join the coalition.

"Our common enemy is terrorism, not any religion, sect or race".

Ali, who said that Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the area of counter-terrorism since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari also added that the efforts of neighbouring countries with similar issues like Chad, Niger and Cameroun, are yielding positive results.

Earlier in November, around 200 Saudi elites including princes, ministers and business tycoons were arrested or sacked.

Khurram Dastgir leaves for Riyadh