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PM seeks joint session of Parliament on April 6 to debate Yemen conflict

Updated April 02, 2015

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PM Nawaz said the crisis in Yemen must be brought to an urgent end through diplomacy and dialogue.  - AFP/File
PM Nawaz said the crisis in Yemen must be brought to an urgent end through diplomacy and dialogue. - AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday asked President Mamoon Hussain to convene a joint session of the Parliament on April 6 to discuss the Middle East situation in detail.

The decision came in the wake of a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House, in which the civil and military leadership discussed the Yemen crisis and Pakistan's possible role in the conflict.

The official communique issued after the meeting said the meeting strongly condemned the actions by "non-state actors" in Yemen to overthrow a legitimate government, and called upon the warring factions to resolve all issues peacefully.

It further decided that the country's national interest will remain the guiding principle of Pakistan's policy in the crisis.

"Given the close historical, cultural and religious affinities between the people of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it was reaffirmed that any isolation of Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity will evoke a strong response from Pakistan," the official statement said.

"The meeting decided that concerned authorities will stay engaged with their Saudi counterparts in this regard," the statement added.

The premier directed that efforts must continue till the evacuation of all Pakistanis stranded in Yemen.

PM Nawaz also stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and promoting the unity of Muslim Ummah.

The premier further emphasised that all decisions in the matter will be taken in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan

During the meeting, the participants acknowledged that Pakistan fully supports the security of Saudi Arabia. However, they said that the crisis in Yemen should be resolved peacefully.

The meeting took place after a Pakistani delegation returned from Riyadh, where it was furnished with the demands of the Saudi leadership and discussed with Saudi officials the possible solutions to escalating violence in Yemen.

Last week, top government officials — Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Advisor to the PM of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar — along with the premier met with the army and air force chiefs to discuss the Middle East conflict and Pakistan's decision on the Saudi request for assistance.

Take a look: Pakistani delegation arrives in S. Arabia for talks over Yemen crisis

Khawaja Asif, who also led the delegation to Riyadh, briefed the participants today about his talks with Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

Asif also shared the demands made by the Saudi government to Pakistan in the prevailing crisis in Yemen.

Read: Yemen conundrum

PM Nawaz said the crisis in Yemen must be brought to an urgent end through diplomacy and dialogue.

He also said that he is in contact with leaders of the Muslim world to find a solution for this crisis, and that political party leaders would also be consulted in order to come to a final decision.

The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the PM Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Amaan, acting Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Khan Hasham bin Saddique and other senior officials.

Also read: Pakistan calls on international community to resolve Yemen crisis

Earlier this week, Pakistan called upon the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the international community to play a constructive role in finding a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

The appeal was made in a high-level civil-military meeting on Monday, presided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to review the situation in Yemen.

An official statement from the PM House had said the meeting concluded that Pakistan remains firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.

It was also emphasised in the meeting that Pakistan is committed to playing a meaningful role in resolving the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

Despite having offered “army’s full potential” to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has so far not taken a policy decision on joining the 10-nation Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni Houthis.