ISLAMABAD: The joint sitting of Parliament provides guideline to the government on the Yemen situation but it has no binding clause for its implementation or any part of it. It is an expression of the will of the parliamentarians.
No parameters have been determined for any action or non-action in it. None of the 12-points of the resolution forbids the government to dispatch troops to Saudi Arabia.
Interestingly, the Constitution lacks any article that guides or deals with deployment or consigning troops outside Pakistan unlike Turkey and the United States where the governments are bound to seek permission from their legislatures before asking their troops for any foreign deployment assignment.
Well placed sources told The News that Pakistan’s known friends and allies in the Middle East are not comfortable with agitating the issue in Parliament since they aren’t aware of the intricacies of democratic order.
They are of view that in Pakistan affection for Saudi Arabia had throughout been above board as the Saudi leadership never consulted even the royal court before extending a hand of cooperation to Pakistan on any issue.
Pakistan’s friends in the Arab world were expecting that Saudi demands would be accepted without any clamor since the government had an easy mechanism at its disposal to accept such request.
Meanwhile, the Arab sources claim that Pakistan has never been asked to consign troops for action in Yemen although the coalition troops have their boots already in Yemen rightfully.
Meanwhile, sources said Pakistan had taken a position with regard to non-state actors’ activities in Yemen since they had dislodged a legitimate government.
Pakistan is perceived to be part of coalition fighting against the state-actors and by the virtue of its position it couldn’t maintain neutrality in the conflict.
Despite the position, the PTI insisted on inclusion of a paragraph about neutrality in the resolution that was contrary to the known position of Pakistan.
The resolution was adopted with consensus by Parliament where 40 members out of 446 took part in discussion.
The government did resist using the phrase neutrality but ethos of ‘unity’ compelled the government delegation to accept the amendment proposed by the PTI delegation.
The contentious part of the resolution says: “Desires (Parliament) that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis.”
Some participants belonging to the opposition in last minutes consultations opposed the inclusion of “Expresses unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and affirms that in case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to Haramain Sharifain, Pakistan will stand shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people.”
But Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar intervened and insisted that the idea of whole exercise could be dropped if this part of the resolution was omitted. The ‘threat’ worked and at the end the resolution was finalized, the sources said.
The sources said the government was considering sending an envoy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Riyadh for further consultations with the Royal Saudi authorities early next week.
In a related development, Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will have an important meeting with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey, on Tuesday (April 14) in Kabul where both will be together to take part in a trilateral on Afghanistan.
It is likely they will also have detailed discussions with regard to the situation in Middle East and Yemen as the Turk foreign minister was with his President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran early this week where they had a meeting with Iran’s President Dr. Hasan Rouhani and spiritual leader Khamanei.