ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to submit a resolution in the National Assembly Secretariat within two days against Pakistan’s decision to join Saudi-led 41-nation Islamic military alliance and appointment of General (retd) Raheel Sharif as its head, senior PTI leaders confirmed on Sunday.
The move, some political analysts believe, apparently suggests that PTI is not convinced to give weightage to the apprehensions conveyed recently to PTI chief Imran Khan during his one-on-one meeting with the army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
It was widely reported that the army chief had requested Khan to soften his otherwise strict stance over the issue and to refrain from creating hype by using the matter for political mileage.
“Resolution will be submitted within the next two days in the NA Secretariat,” PTI MNA Dr Shireen Mazari told The Express Tribune. “PTI is currently finalising its draft.”
Last week, the PTI chief constituted a committee of four MNAs – Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Shafqat Mehmood, Asad Umar and Dr Shireen Mazari – to look into available parliamentary tools to take up the matter.
“Decision has been taken following consultations between the committee members,” said PTI MNA Asad Umar. “The government will be asked to take parliament into confidence.”
Pros and cons of the move should be discussed in detail and political parties must be taken into confidence before giving any formal commitment to Saudis, he added.
On March 31, PTI announced to take up the matter in the parliament, however at that time the party was indecisive about bringing a resolution in the house.
Dr Mazari said the April 2015 parliament resolution had urged the government to stay neutral to Riyadh’s demands to join its military campaign in Yemen, adding that the development would damage the country’s standing and make Pakistan a ‘party’ to the ongoing Arab conflict.
A senior PTI leader, requesting anonymity, also claimed that during Imran-Bajwa meeting, the PTI chief was assured that the decision would not hurt Pakistan’s neutrality, specifically Iran’s interest with which Pakistan shares 909 kilometres long completely peaceful border.
Talking to The Express Tribune, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party’s point of view over the issue was pretty much clear.
“Pakistan should play a reconciliatory role [as played in past], rather than becoming a party to the Arab conflict,” he said. “There are strict divisions even within the Muslim world in this regard and many Arab countries are not part of the Saudi-led alliance.”
Pakistan should refrain from taking any step which could result in souring relations with any brethren Islamic countries, specifically the one with which we share a long and peaceful border, he said.
Already, the situation is tense at the eastern border with India, and northwest border with Afghanistan, while China in our northeast and Russia are also part of a bloc against the US with specific reference to Arab conflict, Qureshi said.
He said it was the need of the hour to carefully vet and consider Pakistan’s own interest before taking any step.
On April 6 (last Thursday) Khan, in a conversation at a business summit in Islamabad, also categorically stated that the PTI was against entering into any alliance forged for war.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2017.