Call for Tehran’s Involvement in Yemen Debate

Call for Tehran’s Involvement in Yemen DebateCall for Tehran’s Involvement in Yemen Debate

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on Tuesday for Iran to get involved in a debate on security in Yemen as parliament resumed debate on whether Pakistan should join a Saudi-led campaign against Yemeni Houthi forces.

Sharif addressed parliament a day after the defense minister revealed Saudi wanted Pakistani warplanes, warships and soldiers. Not a single MP has spoken in favor of sending troops, Reuters reported.

Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf’s main Sunni Muslim power, has asked Sunni-majority Pakistan to join a Saudi-led military coalition that began conducting air strikes last month against Shiite Houthi forces in Yemen.

Pakistani intervention would anger Shiite power Iran, which shares a long and porous border in a region roiling with terrorist activities.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visits Pakistan today and discussions on Yemen are expected to dominate the meeting. Sharif said he welcomed Iranian input.

“Iran should also join the discussion and evaluate whether their policy is correct or not,” Sharif said.

Sharif has repeatedly said he will defend any threat to Saudi Arabia’s “territorial integrity” without defining what threat that could be, or what action he would take.

Joining the Saudi-led coalition could inflame a sectarian conflict at home where about a fifth of the population is Shiite and attacks on Shiites are increasing, further destabilizing the nation of 180 million people.

“If we get involved in Yemen, a huge blaze will once again erupt in our country,” veteran opposition lawmaker Ghulam Ahmed Bilour told parliament.