Ye­men talks

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

For­eign Min­is­ter Shah Mehmood Qureshi has as­sured the Se­nate yes­ter­day that the PTI gov­ern­ment will not send Pak­istani troops to Ye­men, where a Saudi-led war has wrecked dev­as­ta­tion and caused a hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe.

The for­eign min­is­ter also shared with par­lia­ment a few de­tails about his gov­ern­ment's of­fer to help me­di­ate in the con­flict in Ye­men. Ac­cord­ing to Qureshi, Iran has sug­gested it would wel­come a Pak­istani me­di­a­tion role in Ye­men, while im­ply­ing that Saudi Ara­bia has not yet re­sponded in a pos­i­tive man­ner.

Sep­a­rately, also on Wed­nes­day, Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan met the Ye­men am­bas­sador to Pak­istan Mo­ta­har Alashabi and, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, told the en­voy that Pak­istan would con­tinue to sup­port the restora­tion of Pres­i­dent Man­sour Hadi's gov­ern­ment. Therein lies a co­nun­drum for Pak­istan. To be an ef­fec­tive me­di­a­tor, Pak­istan will per­haps re­quire some sem­blance of neu­tral­ity recog­nised by all sides to the con­flict. How­ever, be­cause of the his­tor­i­cally close ties be­tween Pak­istan and Saudi Ara­bia, and the cur­rent Saudi lead­er­ship view­ing Iran as an ex­is­ten­tial threat, Pak­istan has thus far been able to sig­nal a sem­blance of neu­tral­ity largely by re­sist­ing Saudi de­mands for Pak­istani mil­i­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Ye­men con­flict.

Fur­ther­more, while Iran has now re­sponded pos­i­tively to both the PML-N and PTI gov­ern­ments' sug­ges­tion of Pak­istani me­di­a­tion, it is not clear if Iran be­lieves Pak­istan can, in fact, play a me­di­a­tory role, or if it is sim­ply hop­ing to drive a wedge be­tween the his­tor­i­cal al­lies. At its heart, what re­mains un­known is whether the ma­jor ac­tors in the Ye­men con­flict see Pak­istan as a cred­i­ble po­ten­tial me­di­a­tor.

Per­haps, then, Pak­istan ought to reach out diplo­mat­i­cally to other like-minded Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries with a stake in see­ing the con­flict in Ye­men ended at the ear­li­est and re­gional ten­sions be­tween Saudi Ara­bia and Iran re­duced.

Even­tu­ally, a deal on Ye­men at least could be reached un­der the aus­pices of the OIC if coun­tries such as Pak­istan, Malaysia and In­done­sia work to­gether. What­ever the path taken, it is clear that the war in Ye­men must be brought to an end at the ear­li­est. The hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe and near-famine con­di­tions in Ye­men are in­tol­er­a­ble in the 21st cen­tury, and are a di­rect re­sult of Saudi-Ira­nian re­gional com­pe­ti­tion that is on track to cause fur­ther tur­moil if not reined in with the help of the two coun­tries' friends and al­lies. The pre­vi­ous Pak­istani par­lia­ment coura­geously staked out a neu­tral po­si­tion on the con­flict in Ye­men; if the PTI gov­ern­ment needs it, surely the cur­rent par­lia­ment will also as­sist in de­liv­er­ing a uni­fied, con­sen­sus po­si­tion on the con­flict. Who­ever can me­di­ate, who­ever takes the lead, the Mus­lim world, the re­gion and the world at large need the con­flict in Ye­men to end now.

Last month US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and De­fence min­siter has urges the both side of the Ye­men con­flict to come to the ta­ble and set­tle this is­sue with UN spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive and at this mo­ment Houthis has ex­pressed their con­sent to the talks but the Saudi led coali­tion group has not given any re­sponse on it. It is need of the hour that all stake hold­ers of the cri­sis should be forced to come to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble and set­tle this cri­sis as ear­li­est.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.