Why should Pakistan not join Saudi in Yemen conflict?

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Yemen conflict
The castle above Taiz in Yemen. Photo-Jullen Harnels/Flickr

While Pakistan’s parliament discussed on Monday, Saudi Arabia’s request to join its military coalition against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, experts feel that it could be a strategic blunder if Pakistan were to join hands.

Somewhere in Pakistan, people are discussing and civil society groups are opposing any possible intervention of their state in the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif’s statement “…will defend any threat to the kingdom’s territorial integrity” is being viewed as a cue by the world.

Why do experts feel that Pakistan will eventually join hands with Saudi? Because, both the countries have had cordial relations. If you go by history, in 1969, both joined hands to repulse a South Yemeni incursion into Saudi Arabia. Even during the Persian Gulf War, the kingdom enjoyed continued support from Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan also helped the Bahraini royals to kill a popular uprising.

Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif, who was given refuge by the Saudi royal family in 1999 after being thrown into exile, is likely to have a personal reason for supporting the kingdom.

yemen conflict
Map of Yemen. Image courtesy-Google Maps

Experts also believe that with the US doing the big brother act over Taliban insurgency, Pakistan might be keen on being friends with Saudi and having access to its funds. If one were to look at the whole scenario in an economic perspective, last year Islamabad repaid its debts worth billions of dollars with support from Saudi.

However, the citizens of Pakistan feel, the government’s decision might unnecessarily force the country’s economy back into doldrums. The people of Pakistan are trying to get a stable economy that would allow them a better standard of living for over decades now.

Moreover, they might find themselves in the middle of an unwanted controversy with their government deciding to support Saudi. For many in Pakistan, it is more of bequeathing someone else’s war.

Pakistan has already been fighting terrorism on its own soil and has been criticised by the world economies for harboring terrorism on its land. The state might be creating a Frankenstein’s monster with its fresh support to Saudi.

Furthermore, experts view that Iran seeks that upper hand in the sectarian politics in Pakistan. However, Pakistan’s liaison with Saudi might just fuel Iran with more interfering rights over Pakistan.

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