ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday stated that it is against any attempt to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
"Pakistan is also against foreign military intervention in Syria and fully supports the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic,” said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry.
"Pakistan supports all efforts employed at facilitating a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue," added Chaudhry.
It is pertinent to mention that since the start of the Syrian conflict, Pakistan had maintained a policy of strict neutrality. The statement from the foreign secretary marks a significant shift in Pakistan's policy on the ongoing Syrian crisis.
The foreign secretary was speaking at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which met earlier at Parliament House in Islamabad.
Pakistan’s stance on finding a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis was also reiterated on the occasion.
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Earlier, the adviser to prime minister on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, had told the Senate that the exclusion of some Islamic countries from the Saudi-led 34-nation anti-terror alliance will be discussed at international level.
Pakistan was named as part of the Saudi-led 34-nation anti-terror alliance meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent, and found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics.
Later, after initial ambiguity, the Pakistan government confirmed its participation in a Saudi-led military alliance for ‘fighting terrorism’, but said the scope of its participation would be defined after Riyadh shared the details of the coalition it was assembling.
The Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh.
Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had also stated earlier in November that Pakistan will not send its troops for any mission outside the region.
This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has named Pakistan as part of its military alliances without Islamabad’s knowledge and consent. The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of the coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre.
Pakistan later declined to join the Yemen war.