ISLAMABAD -  Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Additional Secretary (Defence) Faisal Rasul Lodhi will leave for Saudi Arabia on Saturday (today) to participate in the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition’s Ministers of Defense Council in Riyadh on Sunday.

The IMCTC announced in December 2015, is a coalition of 41 Muslim countries against terrorism and violent extremism. Pakistan was part of the initial list of 34 countries to join the coalition. The theme of the meeting is “Allied against terrorism”.

Crown Prince and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud will open the meeting.

The key events and presentations will revolve around the strategy, governance, achievements, plans and initiatives of the IMCTC in the domains of ideology, communications, counter-terrorist financing, and the military. The meeting will feature statements by the Ministers of Defense from member nations and will close with a Coalition Declaration announcement.

The IMCTC is also developing an information and intelligence-sharing platform to collect and disseminate a wide-range of information on counterterrorism programmes and best practices undertaken by member countries and supporting nations as well as international organisations.

Although there is no official confirmation, sources said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would also visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on November 27, and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa is likely to accompany him.

Meanwhile, PPP central leader Senator Farhatullah Babar on Friday reminded the defence minister of his assurance to the Upper House that that he would place the terms of reference for participation in the alliance before the Senate before taking any decision.

Speaking during the discussion on issues of public importance, Babar said that the defence minister must not make any commitment on the terms of the IMCTC without bringing it to the notice of the Senate.

He said that it had just been announced that the defence ministers of the coalition countries would meet in Riyadh on Sunday to formally launch the military alliance and also “outline coalition's strategy, governance, activities and future plans”.

Babar reminded that the defence minister had assured the house that the terms of reference for participation in the alliance would be placed before the Senate before taking any decision.

He said that the military commander of the coalition had also been quoted as saying that the coalition, “encompass four key areas of ideology, communications, counterterrorism financing and military to fight terrorism and to join other international security and peace keeping efforts”.

Each of these areas, particularly the one relating to ideology, present potential pitfalls and challenges with far reaching consequences for Pakistan, Babar said, and demanded clarity on the issues involved and laying of facts before the parliament.