Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Shireen Mazari during a National Assembly session on Thursday told lawmakers that a military alliance cannot be a solution to terrorism.
The PTI submitted an adjournment motion in the house to discuss Pakistan’s membership of the 41-nation Saudi military alliance, saying that in light of a unanimous resolution okayed by lawmakers on Yemen calling for “neutrality in the conflict” in 2015, Pakistan must take certain steps before determining its position on the matter.
The PTI’s chief whip in the NA urged the government to determine the nature of the alliance, make the Terms of Reference of the alliance clear and explain why the alliance was set up.
“A similar alliance was set up for Syria but nothing came of it,” Mazari said.
“A military alliance is not a solution to terrorism… Even the Saffron minister believes that [retired] Gen Raheel should not have accepted a position [as the head of the alliance],” she added.
“There are at least 10 militaries present in the alliance who are also a part of a Saudi alliance against Yemen,” Mazari cautioned.
“There should have been a joint parliamentary session where the matter was discussed properly, how can a major decision like this be taken without keeping the parliament in the loop,” Mazari added.
PTI’s Asad Umer said, “The matter is not of Raheel Sharif’s appointment, the question is if we should be part of the alliance or not.”
Addressing PTI’s concerns Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif said, “The alliance has not been formed yet, the countries have only discussed the matters.”
“There will be a grand meeting of all the countries to be involved in the alliance in May, the formal alliance will be formed after that. The terms of reference formed in the meeting will be discussed in the parliament,” Asif added.
“The Saudis wished that Raheel Sharif should head the alliance, whenever it is formed and thus the matter was discussed. However, he will only ask for an No Objection Certificate (NoC) after all matters have been finalised,” Asif said while he had the floor.
Discussing the matter of the alliance interfering with Pakistan’s perspective on Yemen, Asif said, “We will stick to our prerogative when it comes to Yemen, and the agreement we have will remain binding.”