Saudi military alliance: Pakistan ex-Army Chief not granted NOC by Cabinet

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Islamabad : Pakistan's former Army Chief General Raheel Sharif did not obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Cabinet before leaving for Saudi Arabia to head a 41-nation military alliance, the attorney general informed the apex court on Tuesday.

During the hearing of a suo motu case regarding dual nationality of civil servants and judges, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said that as per the law, the NOC is issued by the federal government to government officers willing to join service in foreign lands, Dawn online reported.

"As per law, it is required for the NOC to be approved by the federal Cabinet," the attorney told the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.

The Supreme Court on August 1 sought a report from the government asking how it allowed General (retd) Raheel Sharif and former Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha take up foreign jobs in violation of a law that restrained government officers from doing so for two years post-retirement.

Gen. Sharif left for Riyadh in April 2017 to head the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia. He retired in 2016.

The Attorney General presented the legal perspective after Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. (retd) Zamirul Hassan informed the court that it was the Defence Ministry which had granted NOC to Gen. Sharif after General Headquarters cleared him to accept the post of commander of the Islamic alliance.

Speaking about Lt. Gen. Pasha, the Defence Secretary told the court that the former ISI Director General informed in his reply that he is "currently unemployed".

Earlier, media reports said the former ISI chief, after his retirement in 2012, worked with a multinational firm in the UAE. He is now serving as a group chief adviser to a Lahore-based firm owned by a Pakistani politician.

The Defence Secretary also told the bench that Army had began an exercise to identify those with foreign citizenship even though the law prohibited Army personnel from possessing dual nationality.

The court will resume hearing the case after the summer vacation.