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Yemen Crisis: Time to cease the moment!

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Iran-Turkey summit has reinforced the likelihood of a cease fire in Yemen. Iranian foreign minister shall soon convey this to Pakistan; at the same time he will urge Pakistan to not to join the Saudi led coalition. By this evening all information gaps would be filled. While an overwhelming consensus is emerging for a ceasefire and negotiated settlement, no frame work for such talks is on the horizon. Space for diplomacy is clearly increasing; by now, all parties to the conflict have nodded affirmative for negotiations; hence raison d’etre for sending the military contingent to Saudi Arabia is fast diluting. Handling of this crisis by the government of Pakistan was slow, it could not match the speed of events. Political parties also kept shifting their stance. There was a huge gap between the Pakistani and Saudi positions regarding the ongoing role of Pakistan in Yemen crisis—positions varied between meek denial by Pakistan and total embrace by Saudi Arabia. People of Pakistan were left in a state of confusion. By taking a strong partisan position, Pakistan, like Turkey, lowered its acceptability for playing a lead mediatory role. While Pakistan government is overwhelmingly on Saudi side, leadership should not lose the sight of the stark reality that key to the resolutions of Yemen crisis is with Iran. Inclination toward dialogue by all sides presents a unique opportunity; Pakistan should make a course correction and take a lead in converting this widow of hope into a workable action plan for lasting peace in Yemen.

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Deliberate Ambiguity?

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A photograph released by Saudi Arabia shows Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri at the news briefing with 11 flags displayed behind him, including those of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan maintains that it has neither joined the military coalition nor has it sent any military personnel to actively participate in any operation. Earlier CNN apologized to Pakistan for reporting that Pakistani fighter jets had taken part in the fighting in Yemen. PM leaves for Turkey tomorrow for consultations on Yemen; and for the same purpose, Iranian Foreign Minister shall arrive in Pakistan on April 08.

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Pakistan enters Yemen crisis

Courtesy: Reuters

[Featured Image: Courtesy Reuters] Seriously bruised from the spillover effects of Afghan conflict, with no signs of early and safe extrication in sight, Pakistan has jumped into another fray, the Yemen conflict. Participation in Afghan conflict brought terrorism to Pakistan's territory and the new found (mis) adventure is likely to accentuate the sectarian violence. In all probability decision has already been taken to commit Pakistan's military in Yemen on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Only regularization through Parliament and or APC is pending. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen conflict, and the subsequent Saudi announcement of a coalition against Houthi rebels, involving Pakistan, has drawn a mixed reaction at home. However the point of concern is that: Is the threat perception correct? It is a different thing to rush to the aid of a valued ally who is in danger than facilitating an ally in playing its regional game in another country. Are Houthis really posing a territorial threat to Saudi Arabia? It will be an uphill task for the government for the government of Pakistan to accrue national consensus on this divisive issue. However, consensus or no consensus, executive appears poised to go ahead with its decision.

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