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Pak parliament asks govt to stay neutral in Yemen war


Islamabad:  Pakistan’s parliament today voted unanimously against military involvement in the Yemen war, tacitly rejecting a call by oil-rich Saudi Arabia to become part of its coalition that is fighting against Houthi rebels.

Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to provide troops, jets and warship to its 10-nation coalition that has launched a military campaign in Yemen against the Houthis.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sought advice from the lawmakers.

The parliament’s joint session was called on Monday and it discussed the Yemen situation and Saudi’s request for four days before adopting a unanimous resolution today.

“Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis,” the resolution said.

It means that Pakistan should not send its military to take part in the war inside Yemen.

However, the resolution said that Pakistan should stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia to protect the latter’s territorial integrity by expressing “unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

“In case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to Haramain Sharifain (the two holy mosques), Pakistan will stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people,” it said.

The lawmakers also called upon the warring factions in Yemen to resolve their differences “peacefully and through dialogue”.

The resolution expressed concern on the deteriorating situation in Yemen said that it can spill over and destabilise the entire region.

The resolution moved by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar urged the government to initiate steps to move the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.

It said Pakistan and other Islamic countries should work together for peaceful resolution of issue while promoting unity of Muslim Ummah.

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 critical fallout in the region, including within Pakistan.

The UN agencies estimate that more than 560 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 19.

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