LAHORE - Though the prime minister in his policy statement on Yemen has claimed that it was no different from the joint resolution of the Parliament, a close examination of the text shows some glaring departures from the resolution in question.

First of all, the word, ‘neutrality’, reportedly included into the resolution on PTI’s insistence, is missing from prime minister’s statement. Notably, it was this very word which evoked a very strong reaction from Gulf countries which have also urged Pakistan through diplomatic as well as non-diplomatic channels to come up with a clear-cut stance on the Yemen crisis.  

Where the Parliament’s resolution urges its government to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis, at the same time, it also believes the government could not play such a role unless it proves its credentials of being a neutral partner in the whole affair. The text of the resolution says: {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.”

Now, look at the prime minister’s statement dealing with the same subject. It says: “Pakistan will intensify its diplomatic efforts in the coming days, in consultation with the leadership of Saudi Arabia, to resolve the crisis”. Here, the talk of neutrality which the Parliament considers essential for country’s diplomatic role on the issue is conspicuously missing from the statement.

Secondly, where the resolution makes mention of the infighting in Yemen, it merely calls upon the groups involved into the conflict to settle their disputes through dialogue. Here is the text: {Parliament} “Calls upon the warring factions in Yemen to resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue.” It also calls upon government to move UN Security Council and OIC to bring about an immediate ceasefire among the warring factions. The prime minister’s statement, on the other hand, condemns the Houthis and other non-state actors for attempting to overthrow a legitimate government in Yemen. Where the prime minister’s statement underlines the principles of Pakistan’s policy on Yemen, one of them states that Pakistan’s policy has been based on “Strong condemnation of actions by the Houthis and other non-state actors to overthrow the legitimate government of Yemen and serious concern at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation; and…..”

Remarkably, the parliamentary resolution does not condemn the Houthis as it advises the government to stay neutral on the issue.

Ironically, the prime minister has blamed some ‘speculative’ media reports for creating misunderstanding between Pakistan and its Arab brothers. “We have not responded to these speculations because we believe that public comments would be counter-productive,” says the statement. The facts, however, speak otherwise. The media has only highlighted the reaction on the joint resolution coming from some religious parties at home and the Gulf countries.