Pakistan Refuses to Join Saudi Aggression, Votes to Stay out of Yemen
Pakistan’s parliament on Friday urged the government to stay out of the conflict in Yemen, rejecting Saudi demands for Islamabad to join its aggression on Yemen.
An 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.
“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.”
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.
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 Organization of Islamic Cooperation bloc to bring about a ceasefire.
Pakistan’s parliament resolution came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan to discuss the conflict in Yemen with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials.
Zarif said Wednesday, after the talks, that Iran is ready to facilitate peace talks that would lead to a broad-based government in Yemen. He also called for a cease-fire to allow for humanitarian assistance. “We need to work together in order to put an end to the crisis in Yemen,” Zarif said.
Sharif attended the joint session of parliament Friday to indicate his approval.
If the conflict in Yemen becomes an all-out sectarian war, this will “have a critical fallout in the region, including in Pakistan,” the resolution said.
The parliament also urged Muslim countries and the international community to intensify their efforts to promote peace in Yemen. It called on Pakistan’s envoys to “initiate steps” before the UN Security Council “to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.