ISLAMABAD  - Through a unanimous resolution, the Parliament on Friday urged the government to stay neutral in the Yemen conflict and refrain from getting embroiled in any military offensive. However, the lawmakers vowed to defend Saudi Arabia if it faced a military invasion.

The legislators, after a five-day debate on the Arab countries’ turmoil, affirmed that Pakistan would stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia in case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to ‘Haramain Sharifain’.

The 12-point resolution, without even hinting to send Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia to join coalition against Yemen, said Pakistan must initiate steps to move the UN Security Council and OIC for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.

“The Muslim Ummah and the international community must intensify their efforts to promote peace in Yemen,” says the motion moved by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on behalf of the house which also expressed deep concern at an increasing threat from different terrorist groups and non-state actors to the security and stability of the region.

It advised the government to enhance its friendship and cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and all other regional countries in combating extremism and terrorism.

The resolution also underscored the need for continued efforts by the government of Pakistan to find a peaceful resolution of the crisis, while promoting the unity of the Muslim Ummah, in cooperation with the leaders of other Muslim countries.

It also called upon the warring factions in Yemen to resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue and expressed concern over deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and its implications for peace and stability of the region.

The resolution held that crisis in Yemen could plunge the region into turmoil, so it was supporting regional and international efforts for restoration of peace and stability in that country.

The parliament in its resolution lauded the arrangements made by the government for the safe and swift evacuation of Pakistanis and nationals of many other countries from Yemen, while expressing gratitude to China for its contribution.

A unanimous resolution, prepared after much deliberation of the parliamentary leaders with the prime minister during the proceedings outside the house, noted that war in Yemen was not sectarian in nature, but had the potential of turning into a sectarian conflict which would have critical fallout in the region, including Pakistan.

MQM lawmaker Rehan Hashmi, on a point of order, asked for mentioning the word ‘Arab region’ in the resolution along with the word Yemen. However, his concern was not entertained in the motion by the government, arguing that the house was specifically discussing the issue of Yemen.

“Lawmakers from all the parties are unanimous on this resolution and right now we are only discussing the Yemen crisis, so it is irrelevant,” the finance minister explained.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with the parliamentary party leaders at his Parliament House chamber. The meeting finalised the draft of the resolution regarding the Middle East situation.

According to a press note from the PM House, Nawaz Sharif said the government called the joint session to benefit from the collective wisdom of all the members which may let the government formulate its policy and future course of action.

The house, in the second largest joint session of the Parliament, mostly witnessed views in favour of calling a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and no voice was heard explicitly in favour of sending Pakistani troops to Yemen.

The legislators from both sides of the aisle ,during the five-day debate, repeatedly said Pakistan would stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia in case of any violation of its territorial integrity or any threat to ‘Haramain Sharifain’. However, they mainly pushed for using all possible diplomatic channels to end the crisis. At Friday’s session, they also stressed the need to resolve Yemen conflict through dialogue. Ayaz Soomro, Maulana Sherani, Asif Hasnain and others viewed that Pakistan needs to play its positive role in resolving the crisis.

With the onset of the proceedings, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq congratulated the Parliament and the country’s people on the historic day of April 10, the Constitution Day of Pakistan.

“Prior to moving to our ongoing business, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Parliament and the people of Pakistan on this historic day of April 10, the Constitution Day of Pakistan, said Ayaz Sadiq, adding it was some 42 years ago when the elected democratic leadership of Pakistan agreed on a mutually worked-out document and gifted the nation the consensus Constitution.

“This sacred document unites us as a nation and enables all federating unit to live together in peace, harmony and autonomy,” he said, adding it respects diversity and enshrines the principles of freedom, social justice and equality. “As parliamentarians, it is our utmost duty to preserve, protect and defend each and every word of this book,” he added.

PAKISTAN DIDN'T INFORM ABOUT

RESOLUTION: KSA

Monitoring Desk adds: Saudi Arabian army spokesman General Ahmed Asiri on Friday said that Saudi Arabia has not yet been informed about the resolution passed by the parliament. He said that nobody doubted Pakistan army’s ability and its inclusion would certainly strengthen the coalition, reported a private TV channel.

In an important statement by Asiri in Riyadh, it has been stated that Saudi Arabia wants Pak army’s inclusion in its coalition against the Yemeni rebels. He said that Pakistan’s response on inclusion request was still awaited. He said that Pakistan had not yet informed Saudi Arabia about the parliamentary resolution.