ISLAMABAD/DUBAI  - Strongly reacting to the statement by a UAE minister in which he had warned Pakistan of grave consequences for not taking a clear stance on Yemen, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday termed the threatening tone adopted by the UAE minister uncalled for and against all the diplomatic norms.

In a statement issued in the federal capital, the interior minister said that Pakistan has brotherly sentiments not only for Saudi Arabia but also for the UAE, and such an irresponsible threatening statement from a minister of a brotherly Islamic state is not only ironic but a point to ponder for Islamabad.

In a rare display of discord, Ch Nisar Ali Khan rebuked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister over the remarks which according to him have ‘hurt the self-respect of Pakistanis’.

He said that Pakistan is an honorable and independent nation and “it is alarming that the UAE minister is threatening Pakistan.”

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that Pakistan has brotherly relations with the UAE, like Saudi Arabia, but the statement made by the UAE’s minister was in sheer contradiction with all diplomatic norms. He reiterated that the statement was unacceptable and equivalent to hurting Pakistanis’ self-respect.

A day earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson declined to comment on the remarks by UAE State for Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Anwar Muhammad Gargash.

The UAE minister had taken to the Twitter where he criticised Pakistan over its decision to stay neutral in the Middle East crisis.

Gargash also in an interview with Khaleej Times warned Pakistan of having to pay a “heavy price” for taking on what he called an “ambiguous stand”.

Responding to hanging of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader in Bangladesh, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan said that as a Pakistani, he was hurt. “What kind of justice is this? What sort of ‘internal matter’ is it?” he questioned.

“How can someone be hanged for siding with the Constitution in 1970 after 45 years,” he asked.

He said that flag-bearers of democracy and human rights should take notice of the events in Bangladesh.

Pakistan’s parliament on Friday passed a unanimous resolution backing the government’s commitment to protect Saudi Arabia’s territory from Houthi rebels, but declined Riyadh’s request for Pakistani troops, ships and warplanes inside Yemen.

Pakistan was the first country to recognise the independence of the UAE in 1971 and the two Sunni Muslim-majority countries have close economic ties.

The UAE is a major investor in Pakistan, while around 1.4 million Pakistani expatriates work in the Gulf state sending home remittances that are vital for the South Asian country’s economy.

Islamabad has found itself in an awkward position on Yemen. It has deep military and religious ties to Saudi Arabia and has long benefited from the oil-rich kingdom’s largesse.

But it has been reluctant to become ensnared in a conflict that carries sectarian overtones, with violence against minority Shiites on the rise at home in recent years.

Moreover, the large Pakistani military is stretched, maintaining a heavy presence on the border with arch-rival India as well as fighting against Taliban militants in the northwest.

Instead, Pakistan has pushed diplomatic efforts in the past week, holding talks with Turkish and Iranian officials to try to forge a way ahead.

Pakistan’s parliament vote is not binding, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said last week that any Pakistani participation would need the backing of parliament.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Arab Parliament in the Arab League, Ahmad bin Mohammad Al Jarwan has said he is ‘disappointed’ with the Pakistani parliament’s decision to remain neutral in the Yemen conflict.

Al Jarwan described the Pakistani decision as ‘inconsistent’ with Arab and Islamic stances.

Prominent Gulf Daily ‘Khaleej Times’ in an editorial ‘Stand up for a Friend’ on Sunday said, “Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries expect action from Pakistan and not neutrality. It must walk the talk and rebuild trust and bridges with old friends and not stay on the sidelines”.

The newspaper asserted that the security of the Gulf was in Pakistan’s interests and diplomatic efforts must be supported for a peaceful solution to the crisis. Iran was the aggressor in this situation and it’s meddling in the affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen was not acceptable to the GCC.

The newspaper said the GCC called for action from Pakistan as it was battling to drive out the Houthis, an Iranian proxy, who were moving fast and capturing large parts of Yemen. Iran was encircling the Gulf and was threatening the security of these states.

The newspaper commented that such a danger to the entire region should be viewed as larger threat to Pakistan’s interests. Riyadh and other Gulf states had doled out $3 billion to shore up Pakistan’s economy. It would need more assistance to get out of the woods and improve the quality of life of its people. Parliament was clear, the country could not afford more conflict, but a friend’s enemy should be viewed as an enemy by Islamabad, the newspaper remarked.