ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday made it clear that Pakistan did not abandon friends and strategic partners, especially at a time when their security was under threat.
In his policy statement on Yemen crisis, Prime Minister said that his government continued to follow the policy of fortifying and strengthening the bonds of friendship with the Gulf countries, adding that there should be no doubt about our policy of solidarity with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States.
The Prime Minister said some media reports were speculative and tend to create misunderstanding between Pakistan and its Arab brothers.
“We have not responded to these speculations because we believe that public comments will be counter-productive,” he added.
He said that Pakistan would intensify its diplomatic efforts in the coming days, in consultation with the leadership of Saudi Arabia to resolve the crises.
The Prime Minister said they were also in touch with other GCC countries to assure them that their disappointment was based on an apparent misinterpretation of the Parliament’s Resolution.
The Prime Minister said he had seen many media comments in Pakistan and abroad on the Yemen crisis, particularly after Resolution passed by the Parliament on 10th April and he thought it was necessary to clarify Pakistan’s position on different dimensions of the crisis.
He said that from the very start, Pakistan’s policy was based on the following principles:
The importance of Saudi Arabia as one of our most important strategic allies; The sanctity of the two Holy Mosques and full support to their Custodian; Pakistan’s long term commitment to Saudi sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability which has been the main pillar of our foreign policy pursued by successive governments; Our firm assurance to our Saudi brothers that we shall stand shoulder to shoulder with them;
The Prime Minister said strong condemnation of actions by the Houthis and other non-state actors to overthrow the legitimate government of Yemen and serious concern at the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation; and, the urgency of finding a peaceful solution of the crisis through dialogue among the warring factions.
The Resolution passed by the Parliament on 10th April, the Prime Minister said, fully endorsed these principles and strengthened the hands of the Government for playing a positive and constructive role.
He said the Resolution had affirmed, in clear and categorical terms, that any violation of the Saudi territorial sovereignty or threat to the two Holy Mosques would evoke a strong response from Pakistan.
He said this assurance had been given despite the massive commitment of our armed forces in the on-going Operation Zarb-e-Azb, in which hundreds of our brave soldiers and security personnel had laid down their lives.
“We have already intensified contacts with Saudi Arabia to monitor the ground situation and possible threats to the security and territorial integrity of the Kingdom. We believe that the restoration of President Hadi’s government will be an important step forward towards establishing peace in Yemen”, the Prime Minister said.
Nawaz Sharif said he also conveyed to the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif during his visit to Pakistan on 8-9th April that the violent overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by the Houthis had set a dangerous precedent that was fraught with serious risks for the entire region.
The Prime Minister said he also urged him to use Iran’s influence to bring the Houthis to the negotiating table.