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Pakistani MPs Vote to Stay Out of Yemen Conflict
International

Pakistani MPs Vote to Stay Out of Yemen Conflict

Pakistan's parliament on Friday decided not to join the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, with lawmakers adopting a resolution that calls on the warring parties in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country to resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue.
After days of debating, Pakistani lawmakers unanimously voted in favor of a resolution, which states that "the parliament desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis," AP reported.            

The growing regional involvement risks transforming what until now has been a complex power struggle into a full-blown sectarian conflict like those raging in Syria and Iraq.
Since the Saudi-led coalition launched the aerial campaign more than two weeks ago, pro-Saudi groups have rallied across Pakistan, urging Islamabad to join the coalition. The rallies, organized by a militant-linked Sunni group and Hafiz Saeed, who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa religious group, have condemned the Shiite rebels’ advance in Yemen.
Pakistan’s parliament resolution came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan to discuss the conflict in Yemen with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials.
Zarif said Wednesday, after the talks, that Iran is ready to facilitate peace talks that would lead to a broad-based government in Yemen. He also called for a cease-fire to allow for humanitarian assistance. “We need to work together in order to put an end to the crisis in Yemen,” Zarif said.
Sharif attended the joint session of parliament Friday to indicate his approval.
If the conflict in Yemen becomes an all-out sectarian war, this will “have a critical fallout in the region, including in Pakistan,” the resolution said.
The parliament also urged Muslim countries and the international community to intensify their efforts to promote peace in Yemen. It called on Pakistan’s envoys to “initiate steps” before the UN Security Council “to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.”
Even though the lawmakers opted to stay out of the conflict, the parliament also expressed its “unequivocal support” for Saudi Arabia, vowing that in case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to the Muslim holiest places in the kingdom, Pakistan would “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people.”

 ‘Stop arming Saudi Arabia!
Crowds will gather in central London on Saturday in protest against Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen. Protesters say the intervention is motivated by Western and Middle Eastern governments’ agenda of quashing remnants of the Arab Spring, RT reported on Thursday.
Hundreds of anti-war activists are expected to descend upon Saudi Arabia’s embassy on Charles Street, West London, on Saturday to highlight the humanitarian impact of Saudi-led bombing in Yemen.
The protest has been organized by the Stop the War coalition, and is due to commence at 1pm.
The Saudi-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Yemen includes air forces from Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. The military campaign was launched March 19.
Although Britain is not directly taking part, Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond has pledged Britain’s diplomatic, logistical and technical support for the bombing campaign.

 

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