Pak Senate Chairman visit to Saudi-led coalition HQ raises eyebrows: Report

Islamabad, Dec 28, IRNA - A report published in Pakistan daily says Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani’s recent visit to headquarters of the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen has raised many eyebrows.

Daily ‘The Nation’ said on December 20, the Senate Secretariat through an official statement said that Sanjrani visited the Headquarters of the “military alliance established under command of Saudi Arabia for restoration of legitimate government in Yemen” — a move that has not only surprised many but also has caused distress among many members of the Senate, both from the position and the treasury benches.

It said in April 2015, a joint sitting of the parliament through a unanimous resolution had said that Pakistan would stay neutral to the Yemen crisis. The resolution passed by a special joint session after five days long debate on Yemen crisis urged the then government that Pakistan should play a mediating role to end the conflict.

“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,” said the resolution.

The same year, Saudi-led coalition had launched a military intervention in Yemen and the special session of parliament was summoned following the request of the Saudi government to Pakistan to send its troops to join the fight.

The report said in background interviews, many sitting and former lawmakers of the Senate have viewed that the chairman of Senate by visiting the headquarters of the alliance has given a message that Pakistan was no more neutral to the crisis. They have termed it complete disrespect of the parliament from none other than a custodian of one of the two houses of the parliament.

“Chairman Sanjrani’s visit to the headquarters of ‘Military Alliance for Restoration of Legitimate Government in Yemen’ a thoughtless and irresponsible move that strikes at the very root of parliament’s call for neutrality,” said former senator and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Farhatullah Babar.

“The very title of the Saudi-led alliance is a confirmation of interference by the alliance in the internal affairs of Yemen. Chairman’s visit is an endorsement of the partisan alliance itself, and tears apart the claim of neutrality,” he said, adding that Sanjrani was ill-advised. Babar said that the move would also offend Iran.

The Senate Secretariat quoting the chairman of Senate also said that Sanjrani further “expressed his hope that the coalition of military forces would garner more support from other countries and be more successful.

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