Neutrality in Yemen crisis

Parliament on Friday urged the government to stay out of the conflict in Yemen where the Saudi-led coalition is bombing Huthi rebels. 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 resolution added that Islamabad should refrain from assisting Riyadh militarily but Pakistan should stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia to protect the its territorial integrity and to counter any threat to Haramain Sharifain. Although direct clarity was missing on whether Pakistan would provide military or would involve at any point but it was clear to mention to remain neutral in the crisis.

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. Considering the fact that 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 Parliament has taken an admirable decision.

It is a good omen that Pakistan has pushed diplomatic efforts in the past week, holding talks with Turkish and Iranian officials to try to forge a way ahead. Resolution urged the government to begin work in the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation bloc to bring about a ceasefire.

Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis. Muslim Ummah and international community must play role in the efforts to promote peace in Yemen. Critical issues like this must be debated in the Parliament which is the beauty of democracy unlike the dictator regimes where one man on one call from abroad makes the decisions.

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