The Arab misadventure


And the price Pakistan is being asked to pay


The Riyadh-led coalition forces’ attack on Yemen is replete with serious consequences not only for the poverty stricken country but also the entire region. The air attacks which are taking toll on the civilian population might halt the advance of the Houthi forces but would accelerate the descent of Yemen into chaos. Any foreign troops sent to establish order will be bogged down as these would be opposed by both the Houthis and former President Saleh’s loyalists. The more the Houthis are weakened, the stronger the AQAP and IS would emerge, threatening the entire region. The only sensible policy is to resolve the situation through talks and persuasion rather than bombardment and invasion.

With the Arab League becoming a part of the problem, Pakistan which has friendly ties both with Saudi Arabia and Iran should have tried to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. At a time when the entire parliamentary opposition has disapproved of Pakistan getting involved in the Arab misadventure, Nawaz Sharif is reported to have promised to put the country’s entire military potential at the disposal of the Saudi king. This is against the unambiguous assurance given by Defence Minister Khwaja Asif on the floor of the Lower House that instead of aggravating the situation by participating in it, Pakistan would do what it can to prevent it for the unity of the Muslim world.

Pakistan’s army must not be made to fight other nations’ wars. Pakistan continues to pay the price of its involvement in Afghan jihad at the behest of the US. By committing Pakistan army in the present war, the government would aggravate sectarian tensions inside Pakistan to a level unheard of before. The government will also face opposition on the issue from PPP, PTI, ANP, MQM, JUI-F and even JI. The question is already being asked if the prime minister can put the lives of Pakistani soldiers in jeopardy to repay favours done to him by Saudi royalty.