Pakistan’s parliament voted on Friday not to join the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, dashing Riyadh’s hopes for powerful support from outside of the region in its fight to halt Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.
Saudi Arabia had asked fellow Sunni-majority Pakistan to provide ships, aircraft and troops for the campaign, now in its third week, to stem the influence of Shi’ite Iran in what appears to be proxy war between the Gulf’s two dominant powers.
While Saudi Arabia has the support of its Sunni Gulf Arab neighbours, Pakistan’s parliament voted against becoming militarily involved.
It adopted a draft resolution calling on all sides to resolve their differences peacefully in a “deteriorating security and humanitarian situation” which has “implications for peace and stability of the region.”
(Parliament) desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis,” it said.
At the same time, it expressed “unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and promised to “stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people” if Saudi territory were violated.
Pakistan’s government has yet to comment publicly on the draft but has said it would comply with parliament’s decision.
The Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen against the Houthis on March 26 after the rebels, who already control the capital, began a rapid advance towards the southern port city of Aden.
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