Military support for Riyadh: Imran Khan warns against involvement in Yemen crisis

PTI chief says his party opposed the move

Shabbir Mir June 04, 2015
File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP

GILGIT:


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan cautioned the government against military involvement in the Saudi-led military campaign to oust the Houthi rebels from Yemen.


Addressing his supporters in Hunza and Nagar valleys, the PTI supremo said that his party’s staunch opposition had forced the government to decide against military involvement in the spiraling Mideast conflict.  “Pakistan would have dispatched troops
to Yemen had we not resisted the move,” Imran said.

Imran, who is on the campaign trail ahead of the June 8 Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) legislative assembly elections, said that the country was still paying the price for Washington’s decade-long war in Afghanistan.



In April, after days of debate over the crisis in Yemen, lawmakers adopted a draft resolution in parliament calling on the government to stay out of the conflict in the Arabian Peninsula.

Since then, Imran has been warning the government against jumping into the fray militarily. On the other hand, he has also called for Pakistan to play a mediatory role between the warring parties.

Claiming credit for preventing the country from being dragged into another conflict, the PTI leader said his party had strongly opposed the decision to send troops to Yemen.

Taking a swipe at Washington’s policies, he said, “The curse of extremism and sectarianism are the offshoots of the ‘American war’ that we fought in Afghanistan.”

The PTI chief also chastised the government for investing in infrastructure while the masses were struggling to survive.

On the upcoming elections in G-B, Imran predicted that the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz government would resort to unfair tactics. “They are not used to fair play under neutral empires,” to cheers, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th,  2015.

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COMMENTS (17)

Assad | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Imran Khan should muzzle his trap. Pak-Saudi relations have already been frayed because of this controversy and with him opening his big mouth once again for domestic point scoring, the Saudis will not forget Pakistan's lack of support specially when they are facing SCUD missile attacks from the Houthis. Had IK an ounce of geo-political sense, he would have opted to keep himself from commenting on this issue but once a novice, always a novice is the case with IK.
S.R.H. Hashmi | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Imran Khan should realize that helping Saudi Arabia to restore the legitimate government in Yemen which was overthrown illegally by Houthis is a proposition nowhere comparable to our active and full-blown involvement in the US war with the Soviet Union. For fighting Soviet Union, we set up Jihadi-manufacturing units (Madrassas) right on our soil. These units have kept churning out Jihadies ever since and together with the earlier, battle-hardened batches, they are presenting an existential threat to Pakistan. As compared to that, our involvement with Saudi Arabia would be on a far lower scale, and over 1,500 miles away. Our government could surely spare some active service personnel, and supplement this with recently retired ones and fresh recruits, with Saudis paying the cost of equipping them as well as their salaries and expenses. Perhaps our very presence there could persuade Iran to withdraw its support to Houthis, thus making them more willing to agree to a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the dispute. And this could save Saudi Arabia substantial amounts which it would otherwise have spent on bombs and missiles, which saved amount Saudis could offer to Yemenis as a much deserved economic aid, and earn their goodwill. And our large presence in Saudi Arabia could also be used in helping the states in the region to fight and defeat the so-called Islamic state, before it conquered the whole of Middle East and turned on us through its associates in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It could definitely be a far more sinister and deadlier movement as compared to Taliban and other terrorists that we have got here. So, by helping Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states in the region, we could be doing ourselves a big, big favour. And I think readers will agree that our armed forces will look good playing an international role, befitting their status as a large, well-trained, nuclear-armed military instead of the top officers getting involved in Karachi cleanup and similar operations which they should get done by civilian law enforcers, working under their supervision. And by helping Saudi Arabia, we could in fact be helping ourselves, so why begrudge this? Karachi
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