Pakistan parliament votes neutral on Yemen
Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan, a loyal ally, to join the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and had requested ships, aircraft and troops
Pakistan's parliament on Friday adopted a resolution on Yemen urging the government to stay out of the conflict, rejecting Saudi demands to join its coalition against Houthi militias.
Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan, a loyal ally, to join the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and had requested ships, aircraft and troops.
However, lawmakers urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to step up efforts to find a negotiated end to the fighting, calling on all factions to resolve their differences peacefully and “desiring” that country should stay neutral.
Earlier this month, Sharif stated that “we have agreed to extend all possible support in the defense of Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and called on a parliament to decide - a decision that became a prominent topic in local media.
Thomas Lippman, a scholar at the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Institute, told Arabiya News previously while Pakistan’s “rhetorical support has been available from the beginning,” lawmakers may have been concerned that direct military action against the Iranian-backed Houthis would provoke neighbouring Iran.
Close ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan stretch back decades.
In the 1960s, Pakistan provided support to Saudi to repel an incursion from South Yemen, which was in 1991 incorporated merged into the rest of the nation. Since then, military cooperation and long-standing trade deals have continued.
Meanwhile on Friday, Saudi-led coalition air strikes hit Yemen’s capital Sanaa, targeting weapons storage sites used by soldiers loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, a powerful supporter of Iranian-allied Houthi militias.
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