Dubai, UAE: Pakistan's former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General (retd) Raheel Sharif said that Muslim countries have been facing tremendous challenges and organised terrorism is the biggest threat to our foundations.
General (retd) Raheel Sharif was addressing the Middle East Military Alliances and Coalitions Conference (MEMAC) in Bahrain, part of the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BIDEC) 2017 held in Manama from October 16-18.
Former COAS said while speaking as the head of the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) based in Saudi Arabia, "It is a great honour for me to be a part of this military coalition as the military commander."
He has been credited with carrying out several successful military operations in Pakistan. He stressed that terrorist groups are following organised methods of operation.
He revealed that mercenaries and soldiers of al-Qaeda are paid $400 while fighters for Daesh are paid $700.
The former army chief told military officials and political leaders present at the conference, “Kinetic actions are not enough as the problems are regional and transnational and deeply rooted in the political and socio-economic sphere.”
Referring to outfits such as al-Qaeda, Daesh, and Boko Haram, he said terrorists are concentrated in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
In this regard, Gen Sharif acknowledged the fact that the existing conflicts have overlapped with one another, turning more complex than ever before in the history.
Speaking of Pakistan’s sacrifices in countering terrorism, the former army chief said the nation has contributed more than its weight to regional security and global peace.
“Most importantly, the terrorist narrative and their ideological mentor have been utterly discredited in Pakistan.”
Addressing the MEMAC, the army chief added that the coalition's work is based on four mechanisms: comprising countering terrorist ideologies, enhancing communication and spreading awareness, countering the financing of terrorism and drying its sources, and strengthening cooperation and sharing of intelligence between member states.
This was Gen Sharif's first public appearance as the head of the Islamic military coalition. He remained Pakistan's army chief from Nov 2013 to Nov 2016.
During the international conference alongside the expo, Pakistan's Joint Chief of Staff Committee Chairman General Zubair Mahmood Hayat also delivered a keynote speech on the second day of the conference.
Pakistan's Ambassador to Bahrain Javed Malik said that the nation's participation in BIDEC 2017 has been highly appreciated by the host country.
This was evident by a personal visit of the King of Bahrain, who was accompanied by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and his brother, Commander of the Royal Guard Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and senior government ministers, to the Pakistani pavilion, he asserted.
Over 60 countries, including Pakistan, participated in the three-day conference (BIDEC 2017).
The international defence event was held under the patronage of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, and was the first of its kind in the country.
Lieutenant General Umar Farooq Durrani, the chairman of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), Wah, led the country's delegation, which unveiled the new version of Hamza Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in a 6×6 configuration.
Hamza MRAP 6x6, a new vehicle designed and developed in response to the Pakistani Army's latest needs, can accommodate a total of 13 military personnel, including the driver, commander, and the gunner.
The international defence event brought together over 50 senior military and political officials from several countries as well more than 180 international exhibitors, manufacturers, and arms suppliers.
Pakistani exhibitors included the Defence Export Promotion Organization, Cavalier Group, POF and National Radio Telecommunications Company, among others.