ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan will continue its support and cooperation for United Nations (UN) sponsored endeavours towards bringing peace and stability in Yemen.
Aziz was talking to noble peace laureate Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman who called on him here at Foreign Office on Friday along with the Yemeni Ambassador Ahmed Qaid Al- Horary.
Aziz briefed Tawakkol Karman about the ongoing anti-terror operation Zarb-i-Azb and its positive results which have eliminated terrorist networks in Pakistan.
He also highlighted about the economic gains achieved after improved security environment Pakistan.
“The focus of the present government was to strengthen good relations with our neighbouring countries and promote regional connectivity in transport, energy and trade,” he added.
Aziz specially mentioned about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which would improve regional connectivity between South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia.
Karman briefed the adviser to the prime minister about the present situation in Yemen and solicited Pakistan’s support for international efforts towards resolving the crisis.
The visiting noble laureate thanked the government of Pakistan for providing $1million for rehabilitation efforts in Yemen.
Tawakkol Karman is a journalist, politician and human rights activist who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 being first Arab woman and second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is co- founder of “Women Journalists Without Chain. “
Pakistan and the Yemen conflict
Back in March, Saudi Arabia and four other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had announced their decision to “answer the call of President Hadi to protect Yemen and his people from the aggression of the Houthi militia”.
The Kingdom and its allies then launched air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters, who had tightened their grip in the southern city of Aden, where the country’s president had taken refuge.
The United Nations says that around 5,000 people have been killed and 25,000 wounded, many of them civilians, in Yemen’s conflict since it escalated in March.
Following initiation of the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, Pakistan was formally contacted by top Saudi officials, requesting it to join the Yemen operation.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has since held several meetings with top civil and military officials and has on several occasions said that a “threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will evoke a strong response from Pakistan”.
But despite repeated statements in favour of Saudi Arabia’s stance, Pakistan did not officially commit its troops to the offensive in Yemen.
To evolve consensus on the matter, a joint parliament session was summoned by the government to debate Pakistan’s role in Yemen. After days of discussion, Pakistan’s lawmakers opted for neutrality in the conflict.
Although implying that Islamabad should refrain from assisting Riyadh militarily, the resolution added that Pakistan should stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia to protect the latter’s territorial integrity.
But the parliament’s resolution did not go well with the Gulf Cooperation Council; UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash warned Pakistan of having to pay a “heavy price” for taking on what he called an “ambiguous stand”.
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