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Pakistani general to head MBS’s alliance

Pakistan’s recently retired army chief General Raheel Sharif has been appointed to lead the 39-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT). The move suggests the Sunni-dominated bloc, announced by Saudi defence minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) in December 2015, has some substance – even though Riyadh-headquartered IMAFT is not yet operational and its role remains uncertain. Sharif’s appointment was a surprise, given Pakistan refused to join the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen. His role is likely to complicate Pakistan’s relations with Iran.

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