Pakistan’s parliament voted on Friday and decided not to join the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, dashing Riyadh’s hopes for powerful support from outside of the region in its fight to halt Iranian-allied Houthi rebels. Reuters have more:
Saudi Arabia had asked fellow Sunni-majority Pakistan to provide ships, aircraft and troops for the campaign, now in its third week, to stem the influence of Shi’ite Iran in what appears to be proxy war between the Gulf’s two dominant powers. While Saudi Arabia has the support of its Sunni Gulf Arab neighbors, Pakistan’s parliament voted against becoming militarily involved.
“(Parliament) desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis,” it said. Saudi Arabia played down the decision, saying it was not yet a final move because “the Pakistani government has not announced an official position up till now,” coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told reporters on Friday.
“The presence of our Pakistani brothers would be an addition, but the lack of their ground, naval or air deployment will not affect the operations of the coalition,” he added. The Saudi-led alliance began air strikes in Yemen against the Houthis on March 26 after the rebels, who already control the capital, began a rapid advance towards the southern port city of Aden.