Raheel Sharif leads Saudi military alliance on two-day Pakistan visit

Former army chief Raheel Sharif calls on Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ in Rawalpindi on Monday. (ISPR)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Raheel Sharif leads Saudi military alliance on two-day Pakistan visit

  • Meets army chief General Bajwa, discusses regional peace and stability
  • Aides deny visit has anything to do with upcoming tour of Saudi crown prince

ISLAMABAD: General Raheel Sharif, former Pakistan army chief and head of a Saudi-led, 41-country counterterrorism alliance, is on a two-day visit to Pakistan to meet senior military and civilians leaders, his aides said on Monday.
The media wing of the Pakistan army said Sharif called on Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed “regional peace and stability.” No further details of the meeting were shared in the statement. 
In 2015, Saudi state news agency SPA said a new Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition would be established, and based out of Riyadh, it would “coordinate and support military operations” against terrorism. Sharif was formally appointed to head the alliance in January 2017.
Local media reported on Sunday night that Sharif would hold key meetings with top leaders while in Pakistan, including Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoood Qureshi, Army Chief Bajwa and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat.
The Pakistani foreign office could not be reached for comment on the agenda of Sharif’s meetings. 
But a senior foreign office official confirmed that a delegation of the coalition was in Islamabad for talks with top military and political leaders. He declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media on the record.
Defense analyst and close aide to Sharif, retired Lt. Gen. Amjad Shuaib, also confirmed that Sharif was leading a delegation for talks in Pakistan.
“The delegation of the Islamic Military Coalition led by General Raheel will interact with parliamentarians to address their concerns and questions about the Yemen conflict, besides having meetings with top civilian and military leadership,” Shuaib said.
Sharif’s appointment as the leader of the Saudi-led military alliance last year had sparked debate over what impact the move would have on Pakistan’s foreign policy, and particularly how it would affect a unanimous parliamentary resolution on Yemen calling for “neutrality in the conflict.”
Then defense minister Khurram Dastagir had informed Senate that the alliance would not take part in “unrelated military operations.”
During a visit of a Pakistani Senate delegation to the Islamic coalition’s headquarters in the Saudi capital of Riyadh last year, Sharif was reported by the Senate Secretariat to have said: “The Islamic military coalition was not formed to take action against any country, nation or sect. The primary objective of this institution is to counter terrorism and eliminate it.”
Sharif aide Shuaib also said the visiting delegation would seek “Pakistan’s support in intelligence sharing on terrorism, training of the coalition’s troops and purchase of arms and ammunition from Pakistan.”
Another close Sharif aide, who declined to be named, said the delegation would not be discussing security or other arrangements related to the upcoming visit of crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman later in February.
“Raheel Sharif’s visit has nothing to do with the crown prince and his visit,” the aide said. “That is not at all in the mandate of the military coalition’s work.”


Pakistan student kills professor over mixed reception

Updated 20 March 2019
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Pakistan student kills professor over mixed reception

  • The student accused his teacher of “spreading obscenity”
  • The professor was stabbed in his head and stomach

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani student was arrested Wednesday after stabbing his professor to death for organizing a mixed-gender reception at a government college, police said.

Associate professor Khalid Hameed was killed Wednesday on the campus of Sadiq Egerton College in the southern city of Bahawalpur, a local police official told AFP.

"The professor had organized a gender mix reception for the new students and the event was supposed to take place tomorrow, on Thursday," he said.

According to the report registered with the police, a copy of which was seen by AFP, the student had shouted that he killed the professor because he was "spreading obscenity."

"The gender mix reception is against the teachings of Islam and I had warned him to stop it," he was quoted as saying in the report filed with the police.

The professor's son Waleed Khan, who was with him at the time of the incident, said the student was waiting for his father.

"As my father was about to step into his office, the guy attacked him with a knife, hitting him at his head and stomach," he told AFP.

"My father then fell down and I rushed to him, the student held his knife and started shouting 'I have killed him, I had told him that a gender mix reception is against Islam'," he said.

"We took him to hospital but he had already died," he said.

He said the student dropped his knife and the guards arrested him.

The Punjab provincial government said on Twitter that the student had been arrested and the chief minister had sought a report from the police.

Mixed-gender events are not uncommon in Pakistan's educational institutions but they come with more restrictions in government-owned colleges than in private ones.

Recently, a government university in Punjab issued a dress code barring female students from wearing tops with a deep neckline, sleeveless shirts, tights, skinny jeans or capri pants.

In many government universities there is a ban on students sitting as "couples" and "inappropriate" interaction between male and female students.