“Salaam sir jee, ki haal ai?” (Salaam sir, how are you?), the street sweeper greeted me the other morning.

“Was’salam, theek, tera ki haal ai?” (Was’salam, I am good, how are you), I replied.

“Sir jee aye Yam’aan ki aie?” (Sir, what is this Yam’aan?) He came straight to the point.

“Ha ha, kyun, tu jaana aie?” (Why, do you want to go?)

“Na sir ghareeban kithay jaie ga, aie Nawaz jo bolda aie har waley kay jaa rahay aan.” (No sir where can the poor go; Nawaz (Sharif) is always talking about going there).

I said “Aik mulk aie Yemen.” (Yemen is a country)

He gave a loud laugh. “Lae  jee ithay muk gaya jo uthay jana aie hun?” (Oh boy, is it finished here that he’s going there now?)

Street wisdom!

As the international media enjoys a field day with Yemen; the Muslim world is partly confused, partly vocal in defense of Saudi Arabia (without any overt threat to the country), and in part is silent and minding their own business.

Our government, straddling the middle ground saddle, does not see people having a problem with this line of thought since it finds it in the fitness of things to save the integrity of Saudi Arabia (sic saving the Saudi monarchy).

Maintaining the status quo for now seems to be the interest of the puppeteer pulling the strings of a large comity of nations jerking, dancing, and bowing to earn the applause of the puppeteer’s audience!

The Republic of Yemen, situated on the South-Western edge of the Arabian Peninsula, is the second largest regional country and is in the news due to a civil war between factions and sects of the people of Yemen. Many people were not even aware of the location of Yemen till Yemen became the talk of the town.

Muslims performing Hajj or Umrah know this name for another reason. The Rukn e Yemeni in the corner of the Kaaba that faces Yemen is the fourth corner of the Ka’bah before the Hajar e Aswad, and on turning left on the last leg of a tawaf the Rukn e Yemeni is visible through a cut made in the Kiswah.

Another Yemeni claim to fame is the semi-precious stone Aqeeq (Agate): the Aqeeq Yemeni is supposedly the best. Myth has it that the light brownish Aqeeq guards the wearer against danger; makes them temperate, continent and cautious, making one see oneselves with clarity and the world in a broader perspective. The stone absorbs sunrays and passes these onto the body which is good for health; myth also says that it has been in use since the times of Hazrat Adam. Perhaps the Aqeeq Yemeni is the most widely used and worn stone by Muslims worldwide.

More on Yemen:

In February 2012, in an election held under pressure from its neighbors and Western nations, Abdu Rabb Mansour Hadi became the country's President, unopposed. In 2014–15, the Houthis, followers of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi staged a coup d'état to oust President Hadi, now in exile, and came to control the country's capital, Sana'a, and the parliament building.

What, for all intent and purposes, started as an insurgency, a coup, and a long running internal conflict quickly escalated into a flash point.

With no threat given or even mentioned, the Arab world in particular and the Muslim world in general, took up arms against the Houthis citing that the conflict posed a threat to the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia (tacitly taken as a threat to the Kaaba and Masjid e Nabvi).

Given the emerging international repercussions from the conflict, Pakistan - always first to put the donkey before the cart and not appearing to lag behind in “protecting the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia” - offered troops and military hardware to save the Kingdom.

Street wisdom, irrespective of debates on the pros and cons of military intervention, asks from where, how and from whom has the safety of Saudi Arabia been put into jeopardy?

Street wisdom also wants to know how the territorial and monarchical integrity of Saudi Arabia is more important than the fight for FATA; the violation of the Line of Control and international boundary by India; the Iranian misgivings; the lack of visible governance; law and order; political instability and the like.

Street wisdom questions the rationale of Metro busses, Express and Motorways, and little interest in health, education, welfare, fighting radicalization, extremism, and terrorism.

But then, collective street "idiocy" can never match the "elite" thought process which - in its highly selective, prestigious, independent, Oxford, Aitchisonian and Cadet College mindset, having delusions of grandeur while commanding the fate of 120 million people of a third world population which voted them to power - is always right!