Parliamentarians speak out against intervention in Yemen

Published April 8, 2015
Parliamentarians seated in the National Assembly. — DawnNews screengrab
Parliamentarians seated in the National Assembly. — DawnNews screengrab

ISLAMABAD: The Parliament's joint session has entered its third day on Wednesday as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said during the previous day's sessions that Pakistan is “not in a hurry” to decide on joining the Saudi-led coalition against rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, the Gulf's main Sunni Muslim power, has asked Pakistan to join a Saudi-led military coalition that began conducting air strikes last month against largely Shia Houthi forces in Yemen.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif begins a two-day visit to Pakistan today and discussions on Yemen are expected to dominate the meetings. The premier also said he welcomed Iranian input.

“Iran should also join the discussion and evaluate whether their policy is correct or not,” PM Nawaz said.

The premier has repeatedly said he will defend any threat to Saudi Arabia's “territorial integrity” without defining what threat that could be, or what action he would take.

KSA is not under any threat: Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi

Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. — DawnNews screengrab
Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. — DawnNews screengrab

Speaking in the National Assembly, Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi commends the government for calling a joint session of the Parliament. "I must urge them, that since they have called a joint session, they must listen to it, learn from it..."

He says parliamentarians represent the opinions, desires of the Pakistani nation.

"Who has benefited from the Arab Spring except the US and Israel? An independent, sovereign state of Yemen has been attacked in a pre-emptive military strike by another independent state. They Saudis are asking another independent Muslim state for military aid."

The senator says that Saudi Arabia is not under any threat. "SA has a large army, abundance of weapons — then why is it asking Pakistan for help?"

Later, the joint session of the Parliament was adjourned until 10am tomorrow.

Army troops cannot become cannons for foreign wars: Shireen Mazari

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Information Secretary Shireen Mazari. — DawnNews screengrab
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Information Secretary Shireen Mazari. — DawnNews screengrab

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Shireen Mazari says Pakistan Army troops should not just be sent anywhere to fight other countries' wars.

"Our brave soldiers are fighting a war in our country, they cannot become cannons for foreign wars."

"We fought the American war against the Soviets, and we are still suffering the fallout of that war."

"This war is a coalition of the willing. Why didn't Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council states go to the Security Council? We should in no case support this 'coalition of the willing'," she said.

"We should convince Saudi Arabia that the Russian initiated resolution for Humanitarian Pause should be passed in the UN."

"Pakistan should push for a UN Peace Enforcement Force so that dialogues and negotiations could begin. Pakistan should ensure it doesn't have to face any blowblack in this war, like the previous proxy wars she has been involved in."

Mazari posited questions to the government from the PTI:

  • Why did our Ambassador and diplomatic staff to Yemen flee before all citizens were evacuated?
  • How can Defence Minister Khawaja Asif not state all the "facts"? Why this secrecy?

The PTI information secretary says it is the right of the nation to ask why the Pakistani flag was seen among flags of coalition countries when no formal decision has been taken on joining the Saudi offensive in Yemen.

"We request the Defence Minister to state facts on issues of defence instead of political point-scoring," she concludes.

Defending Saudi Arabia is our moral obligation: Muzaffar Hussain Shah

Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah. — DawnNews screengrab
Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah. — DawnNews screengrab

As the joint session enters its third day, Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah reiterates the importance of defending Saudi Arabia's territorial security.

"The eyes of the nation are on the Parliament's joint session," he adds.

While speaking about the conflict in Yemen, the senator says that it is not a military crisis but a political one.

"The political crisis must me resolved in a political manner," Shah says.

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