ISLAMABAD: Senator Farhatullah Babar has called for supporting Saudi Arabia in non interventionist way and instead seek to position itself as honest mediator in peace making in the strife torn Yemen.
Without boots on Yemen soil Pakistan should assist Saudis in logistics, intelligence sharing, security of key installations, training in mountain and difficult terrain warfare and medical assistance.
This is a tight rope walk he said and suggested that this limited assistance to the kingdom should be accompanied with a balancing act through stepped up dialogue with Iran on border security and bilateral talks on Afghanistan.
It is not in our national interests to be used by any Middle Eastern country for posturing against Iran, he said.
He said that Pakistan was the biggest contributor to UN peace keeping and called for UN peacekeeping in Yemen. This will enable us to have our troops in Yemen but only for peace keeping and under UN barrets.
An immediate ceasefire and humanitarian assistance must also receive priority as delay will not only result in a human catastrophe but also defeat the very purpose of the ongoing operation in Yemen.
He said that the crisis in Yemen was basically political that calledfor a political solution and not a military response.
Last week Iran offered that it could talk with Saudi Arabia for resolving the Yemen crisis. This provides an opening for Pakistan to act as honest mediator. He said strengthening relations with the muslim world was also a constitutional requirement and this is possible only if pakistan is seen as a mediator and not as a party in the war.
The government would be well advised to look into the past history of interventionism for drawing appropriate lessons.
He recalled that intervention in Jordon in 1967 to drive out Palestinians earned some dollars but alienated the PLO which then never supported Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.
The intervention in Afghanistan in the eighties in the name of Islam
earned some dollars but also brought huge devastation in the form of drugs and klashnikov culture, refugees and rise of militancy. By adopting ‘iman, taqwa, jehad fi sabelillah’ as the fighting motto for our forces then we paved way for the privatization of jehad in the country and its devastating consequences.
After 9/11 he said on a telephone call pakistan allowed its air bases to be used for strikes against Afghanistan. As a result we may have got some 20 billion dollars but also lost over 56,000 citizens including solders and suffered huge material losses in militancy.
Faced with the choice of playing the role of an interventionist on the side of any country or as honest peace maker Pakistan should opt for the latter he said.
He also welcomed PTI lawmakers for rejoining the parliament as “triumph of parliament and democrcy” and criticized Khwaja Asif for his brashness against PTI and called for expunging the defence minister’s unparliamentary remarks.