Pakistani members of the parliament have voiced strong opposition to their country’s involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
Since Monday, the legislators have been discussing Riyadh’s request from Islamabad to contribute ships, aircraft, and troops to the warfare. In the face of the two countries’ strong alliance, the Pakistani parliament has overwhelmingly rejected the idea of military intervention in Yemen, with lawmakers saying they do not see the impoverished Arab Peninsula nation as a threat to the integrity of Saudi Arabia.
“The Yemen war is not our war…Our advice to the government is that the army should not go,” said opposition member of parliament Shireen Mazari on Wednesday, adding, “As Muslims, we are duty-bound to counter any threat to holy shrines but there is no such threat today.”
Opposition Senator Tahir Hussain Mashadi said the “aggressors” were the Saudis and the victims were the Yemenis. “Now the aggressors are asking another sovereign state, Pakistan, to come to provide military aid to Saudi Arabia.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was “not in a hurry” to decide whether to contribute to the Saudi-led aggression.
Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen started on March 26, without a UN mandate, in a bid to restore power to the fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, against whom the Saudi-led war has been waged.
The airstrikes have killed hundreds of people and injured thousands more.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced that over 540 Yemeni people have died and 1,700 wounded in the past tumultuous days the country has witnessed, saying that the death toll is related to the time period between March 19 and April 6.