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Parliament calls for neutrality in Yemen conflict

Updated April 10, 2015
Lawmakers appreciated the government’s decision to call a joint sitting of Parliament to consider Pakistan's response to the crisis. — AFP
Lawmakers appreciated the government’s decision to call a joint sitting of Parliament to consider Pakistan's response to the crisis. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: On day five of the joint parliamentary session on Yemen, lawmakers approved a draft resolution proposing that Pakistan "should maintain neutrality in the conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis”.

Although implying that Islamabad should refrain from assisting Riyadh militarily, the resolution added that Pakistan should stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia to protect the latter's territorial integrity. No direct clarity was provided on whether Pakistan would, or would not involve itself militarily at any point.

The lawmakers okayed the resolution unanimously on the fifth day of the joint parliamentary session on the Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The session was summoned after the Saudi government approached Islamabad for Pakistani warplanes, warships and soldiers to assist in the conflict and join the Saudi-led military coalition that began conducting air strikes last month against Houthi forces in Yemen.

Expressing “unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, the resolution that the lawmakers agreed upon stated that “in case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to Haramain Sharifain, Pakistan will stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people”.

It further said that the crisis in Yemen could “plunge the region into turmoil”, calling upon the warring factions in Yemen to resolve their differences "peacefully and through dialogue".

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.

It added that the government should initiate steps to move the UN Security Council and the OIC to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.

Also read: Debate on Yemen

The resolution expressed “serious concern on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and its implications for peace and stability of the region”, adding that lawmakers supported “all humanitarian initiatives aimed at bringing relief to the people caught in the conflict”.

It moreover expressed “deep concern at the increasing threats posed by several terrorist groups and non-state actors to the security and stability of the region”, advising the Pakistani government “to enhance its friendship and cooperation with the GCC and all other regional countries in combating extremism and terrorism”.

The resolution added that the lawmakers supported “regional and international efforts for restoration of peace and stability in the region”. It underscored the need for “continued efforts by the Government of Pakistan to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis while promoting the unity of the Muslim Ummah in cooperation with leaders of other Muslim countries”.

Page 1 of the resolution
Page 1 of the resolution
Page 2 of the resolution
Page 2 of the resolution

The resolution moreover said that the lawmakers desire 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 urged “the Muslim Ummah and international community to intensify their efforts to promote peace in Yemen”.

Also read: Not our war

The resolution further states 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.

Lawmakers also expressed their gratitude to the People’s Republic of 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.