Jan 20, 2016, 2:11 PM
News Code: 81928734
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Pakistan not to join any anti-Iran coalition: Defense min.

Islamabad, Jan 20, IRNA - Pakistan Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has assured the parliament that the country under no circumstances would join a military alliance against Iran.

According to some Pakistan well-known media, Asif said in a policy statement before the parliament, 'After Iran, Pakistan has the second largest Shia population in the world, so how can we even think of joining an anti-Shia military alliance.'

Above all, the defence minister said that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah – the founder of the nation – was also an adherent of a Shia sect, just like many others who had played a key role in the development of this country.

Acknowledging the existence of fault lines between the Sunni and Shia sects, the minister stressed that the government’s efforts would remain focused on promoting religious harmony, both within the country and elsewhere in the region.

In his over 20-minute speech, the defense minister clarified several times that Pakistan would never commit its military to any alliance against another Muslim country.

He said that the 34-nation Saudi-led coalition was still evolving; it was unclear how this coalition would work and what precise role its members would be playing.

Elsewhere in his speech, Asif said, 'At present, 1,125 Pakistani officers are present in Saudi Arabia on various assignments mainly involving training, and the number will only increase in the coming days because the two countries have close defense cooperation.