In wake of the prime minister’s policy statement on Yemen crisis, politicians and analysts on Monday downplayed the possibility of immediate dispatch of Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia.
While all major political parties expected the government to follow the unanimous resolution adopted by both houses of the Parliament, experts believed that armed forces did not support the idea to send troops to Yemen.
Most politicians dub PM’s statement a “mere lip service” to pacify shaky Arab friends, stating that ground troops were not being sent to Saudia and Yemen for the time being.
Eminent analyst Dr Rasool Bux Raees said that the Parliament’s resolution was not binding on the government in its policy formulation. “The PM wanted to pre-empt the reactions on the Saudi Arabia’s request for military assistance by taking the matter to the joint session of the Parliament. Through this plan, the premier handled the diplomatic pressures,” he added.
“It is also obvious that the army is not backing the idea of sending troops to Yemen and Pak will not indulge in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.
Asked what options Pakistan had if troops were not to be sent on Saudi Arabian request, Dr Raees said Pakistan may offer its weapons, missiles and ammunition.
Moreover, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi toldPakistan Today that the prime minister has endorsed the resolution adopted by both houses of the Parliament. “Nothing beyond that could be done. The position remains the same even after today’s statement by the PM,” he added.
Asked since the parliamentary resolution was not binding on the government, how much change he could perceive in the government’s strategy, Qureshi, who has himself served as foreign minister, said that the prime minister himself had said that his government would abide by the Parliament, which reflected the will of the people. “And if the PM changes stance from his earlier position, we would have to see whether a new situation has emerged. For this, again the PM would have to take the Parliament into confidence,” he maintained.
On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira told this scribe that the Parliament’s resolution has resolved the question of sending troops to Saudi Arabia. “The resolution states Pakistan would respond strong if there is any threat to Saudi Arabia. We stand by it,” he said, however adding that since President Hadi’s government in Yemen was recognised by the United Nations, it’s ouster by use of force was illegitimate.
“So far, there is no change in Pakistan’s policy on Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It’s an explanatory statement by the prime minister made today as a Saudi Arabian delegation had arrived and some meetings took place to reassess the situation,” the PPP leader concluded.
Furthermore, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) spokesman Jan Achakzai said that his party welcomed the statement of the prime minister which he claimed was an endorsement of the stance adopted by Fazlur Rehman vis-a-vis the parliamentary resolution.
“Today’s statement by prime minister is a balancing act to control the damage done by the parliamentary resolution. We believe that the government under immense pressure from the PTI had wrongly agreed that Pakistan would maintain its neutrality on crisis in Yemen. Now if overthrowing a legitimate government by ISIS is wrong in Iraq, how come it be justified in Yemen,” argued the JUI leader. He added that PM’s statement should not be taken as if Pakistan was going to send its troops to Yemen.
“Extending political support to the ousted Yemeni leader and sending troops are both separate issues and both should not be confused with one another,” he added.
Awami National Party (ANP) Senior Vice President Haji Adeel said that there was no visible change in the stance of prime minister and the government was bound to follow the policy already agreed by all political parties in joint resolution of the Parliament.