Pakistan says no to Saudi war call

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  • Joint parliamentary resolution calls for neutrality in Yemen conflict
  • Expresses ‘unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’ and promises to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people’ if Saudi territory was violated
  • Calls on all sides to resolve their differences peacefully in a ‘deteriorating security and humanitarian situation’ which has ‘implications for peace and stability of region’

Pakistan’s parliament voted on Friday not to join the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, rejecting Riyadh’s call for support from outside of the region in its fight to halt the advance of Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.

A unanimous resolution passed by a special session of parliament backed the government’s commitment to protect Saudi Arabia’s territory, which has so far not been threatened by the conflict. But it said Pakistan should play a mediating role and not get involved in fighting — turning down longstanding ally Riyadh’s request for troops, ships and warplanes.

“Parliament of Pakistan… underscores the need for continued efforts by the government of Pakistan to find a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” the resolution said.

It adopted a draft resolution calling on all sides to resolve their differences peacefully in a “deteriorating security and humanitarian situation” which has “implications for peace and stability of the region”.

“[Parliament] desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis.”

It expressed “unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and promising to “stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people” if Saudi territory were violated.

The motion came after five days of debate on the Yemen crisis, in which the majority of lawmakers urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to send Pakistani forces to join the fight.

The coalition led by Riyadh has been hitting Houthi rebels in Yemen with airstrikes in a bid to restore the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia has vowed to bomb the rebels, who it says are backed by Tehran, into surrender to prevent them establishing a pro-Iran state on its doorstep.

Islamabad found itself in an awkward position on Yemen. It has deep military and religious ties to Saudi and has long benefited from the kingdom’s support.

But it has been reluctant to become ensnared in a conflict.

Moreover, the large Pakistani military is stretched, maintaining a heavy presence on the border with arch-rival India as well as fighting against Taliban militants in the northwest.

Instead, Pakistan has pushed diplomatic efforts in the past week, holding talks with Turkish and Iranian officials to try to forge a way ahead.

Friday’s resolution urged the government to begin work in the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) bloc to bring about a ceasefire.

The resolution noted that while the war in Yemen was not sectarian in nature, it had the potential of turning into a sectarian conflict and thereby having a critical fallout in the region, including within Pakistan.

The resolution further stated that parliamentarians appreciated the arrangements made by the government for the safe and swift evacuation of Pakistanis and nationals of many other countries from Yemen. The lawmakers also expressed their gratitude to China for its contribution in the evacuation mission.

They also appreciated the government’s efforts to call a joint sitting of parliament to consider Pakistan’s response to the crisis.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Pakistan has decided to stop being brotherly to the Gulf states today. Fair enough. I too will stop being brotherly to the 81 Pakistani employees in my dad's company and will send them home at the end of their contracts. I will focus on hiring more trustworthy Indians. Moreover, I will presuade other CEOs in the Gulf states to do the same. After all, why should we be brotherly?

    • That is not very nice of you. Do you always use such ''persuasion'' when you deal with your employees? And you will also persuade other CEOs in the Gulf states to do the same. Very good for you. With all your money and power you still sound like a little man. Oh, and by the way, maybe you should ask Daddy first if it's okay to fire all those employees? You don't sound like someone who cares about Yemen.

    • Your two posts have disappointed me. You are living in a kingdom and have no idea how democratic societies function. By showering favors on Sharifs, the House of Sauds assumed Pakistan's military resources would be ready to help them perpetuate power. Nawaz Sharif did try his best but the will of the people of Pakistan exercised through its Parliament (& informal advice of the Army), helped us arrive at a fair decision.
      It may not be out of place to mention here that our Saudi BROTHERS complicate our war against terrorism by funding Talibans in Pakistan.

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