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

Published: June 5, 2015
File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP

File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP


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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Reader Comments (17)

  • Neutral
    Jun 5, 2015 - 9:14AM

    Imran khan is right. But it’s not that simple . Even if he would’ve been PM , he may not say “NO” to them easily ! Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 5, 2015 - 10:30AM

    He wouldn’t have said straight away NO but played a diplomatic card which indirectly said NO…….Recommend

  • cheebz
    Jun 5, 2015 - 10:42AM

    As a PM u use diplomacy to say no… Where as opposition you can say no upfront… However knowing the current government, their track record is very poor when it comes to putting countries interest ahead of theirs… Recommend

  • True Pakistani
    Jun 5, 2015 - 10:54AM

    Imran warns Pak not to go to war but all parties have already agreed no to do that. Why does he always come out with such statements while Pakistan is asking US for Civilian Nuclear technology or some other such sensitive time? Is he working on some foreign agenda by reminding everyone that Pakistan may not be trusted with foreign adventures?Recommend

  • Basheer DEST
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:04AM

    Right On khan sahb…..Recommend

  • Basit
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:10AM

    dont disturb me i am sleeping: PM Nawaz SharifRecommend

  • Aftab
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:37AM

    Pakistan has its own vested interests in middle east. It is not a matter of saying yes or no but a matter of safeguarding the its foreign remittances sources.Recommend

  • Bukhari
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:49AM

    Imran Khan was the first politician who said to play the role of mediator not to be the party in Yemen conflict. Khan has instinct to these international issues unlike PM, who is saving his own interest while talking on these issues.Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:10PM

    Fed up of this Drama KhanRecommend

  • Muhammad
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:32PM

    First of all this is not a war between Saudi people and Yemen. Harmain Sarifain is not in danger. This a war which is fought by SaudiMonarchy for its family’s interests which is supported by Sheikhdoms of tiny Gulf States. It is also not a war between Shia and Sunnis. These Arab kings fight to save their king-ships and that’s all. We can’t sacrifice our soldiers to safeguards the dancing clubs of tiny Gulf states. Foremost, these states have more Indian expatriates than Pakistanis and these have never backed Pakistan on Kashmir issues. Also please visit these tiny Gulf States and Saudi Arab and see how do they behave with poor Pakistanis and please also see how these poor Pakistanis lead their life there. One feels like to weep when he sees these Pakistanis living in a small room more than its capacity. You will also hear the terminology of, “Bed Space Available” which means a poor Pakistani will sleep in a double decker bed paying 1/3rd of his salary for this inhuman bed space. We all shall oppose any Pakistani troops’ deployment in these countries, they should themselves fight their war.Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:44PM

    @Aftab: But more remittance are going to India than Pakistan from Saudi Arabia and Gulf States and the Indians are treated in much better manners than Pakistanis. Recommend

  • Gultasib Khan
    Jun 5, 2015 - 2:04PM

    @True Pakistani:
    agree 100% with you. no one can question Imran Khan honesty,integrity and sincerity but his timing is not always spot on. Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 5, 2015 - 4:26PM

    Imran expects Pakistan to do with its friends what he does with his own friends (and relatives). He dumps them after spending their money on his personal glory. Recommend

    Jun 5, 2015 - 8:08PM

    Diplomacy must be linked with real economic well being of the people. What we have witnessed in the past and even now that our foreign policy makers get trapped in the visible monetary offers and participate in foreign military adventures either directly or indirectly. A case in point is support to Americans in Afghanistan and the current covert commitment in Yemen military activism. If we calculate the losses suffered only in economic terms I have no doubt that the losses in terms of life of Pakistanis and the material destruction of Pakistan far exceeds what was paid to Pakistan. Also we should never support militarily one Muslim country against another. Imran Khan’s stand is fully supported. Recommend

  • Saleem
    Jun 5, 2015 - 8:36PM

    Imran Khan was an International Cricketer but that doesn’t qualify him to be an expert in International relations. He equates everything to cricket but that everything is not like that.There are things which are lot more complex and Mr. Khan simply can’t comprehend until he is sitting at a driver’s seat and making decisions.

    Mr. Khan needs to prove his mantle in K&P and show what he can deliver. And this goes to his so called advisers who how show up on talk shows every night and sound like champions on every matter. But they still have to help K&P government to deliver. It baffles me that clueless talk show hosts don’t ask these so called experts what advise would these pundits give to K&P government and where are the results. Proof is in the pudding!Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Jun 6, 2015 - 3:03PM

    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?


  • Assad
    Jun 7, 2015 - 7:50AM

    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.Recommend

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