RIYADH (Web Desk) – Saudi Arabia has appealed Pakistan to cooperate on formation of NATO-like military alliance of Muslim countries, sources told Dunya News.
According to sources, both sides have agreed to continue consultation on the matter.
The appeal comes at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned Pakistan after completing a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia.
During the visit, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif witnessed the military exercises ‘North Thunder’.
Earlier on Friday, Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the Saudi city of Hafr al-Batin and thanked him for Saudi Arabia’s strong and consistent support to Pakistan.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi were also present on the occasion.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister admired the successful completion of the joint military exercises that brought together contingents from about two dozen Islamic countries.
He said these exercises would promote unity among the two countries and demonstrate their resolve to further step up efforts to counter militancy and terrorism.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that this has enhanced cooperation and understanding between the armed forces of the two countries and reinforced the existing bilateral relations.
It may be mentioned here that the parliament last year refused to send forces to help a Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen.
But on January 18, Pakistan “assured the kingdom of its support” for a separate Saudi coalition of 34 nations to combat “terrorism” in the Islamic world, the Pakistani statement said.
“It was agreed that both countries would work together to defeat our common enemy -– terrorism and extremism.”
Diplomats have said it remained unclear how the 34-nation coalition will work in practice.
Pakistan has deep military connections with Saudi Arabia and it has long benefited from the oil-rich kingdom‘s largesse. Nawaz Sharif himself has close personal ties with the Saudi royal family who sheltered him during years in exile.