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Warned for ‘neutrality’

The decision of Pakistan’s Parliament to remain neutral in the escalating crisis in Yemen has not gone down well with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ‘The Pakistani parliament’s resolution, which promoted neutrality on the Yemeni conflict, and voiced support for Saudi Arabia is contradictory and dangerous and unexpected from Islamabad,’ said UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Twitter.

‘Tehran seems to be more important to Islamabad and Ankara than the Gulf countries,’ added the UAE Minister. ‘Though our economic and investment assets are inevitable, political support is missing at critical moments. The Arabian Gulf is in a dangerous confrontation, its strategic security is on the edge, and the moment of truth distinguishes between the real ally and the ally of media and statements,’ Gargash added.

The decision by the Parliament to stay neutral and not contribute troops to the ongoing operation in Yemen is brave indeed and shows that all political parties are united when it comes to Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan is not a vassal state and has every right to devise its foreign policy based on the country’s best interests. The ‘threat’ by UAE of potential economic consequences must be taken seriously by the Government.

The statement by the UAE Minister is also an unfortunate display of apathy towards Pakistan’s internal security situation. The Government must also keep its nerve at this critical time and should not be rattled with the threat of potential ‘high costs’. If we budge to the pressure it will undermine not only supremacy of Parliament but also our country’s image. Pakistan should try to deftly maneuver out of the media spotlight and maintain its current stance. The pressure on Pakistan is expected to mount in the coming days and it will be a real test of the Government how they work their way out of it.

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