UAE condemns Pakistan’s vote on Yemen

Warns of heavy price for ambiguous stand.

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Dubai — The UAE on Friday strongly condemned a Pakistani decision to stay out of the conflict in Yemen, rejecting Saudi demands for Islamabad to join its military coalition against Houthi rebels.

“The Arabian Gulf is in a dangerous confrontation, its strategic security is on the edge, and the moment of truth distinguishes between the real ally and the ally of media and statements,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash tweeted after a unanimous resolution passed by a special session of Pakistan’s parliament.

The resolution, however, backed the government’s commitment to protect Saudi Arabia’s territory, which has so far not been threatened by the conflict.

Gargash said Pakistan is required to show a clear stand in favour of its strategic relations with the six-nation Arab Gulf cooperation Council, as contradictory and ambiguous views on this serious matter will have a heavy price to pay.

“This is nothing but another chapter of laggard impartial stand,” Gargash said, criticising identical views held by Turkey and Iran about the armed conflict in Yemen, as affirmed by the Turkish foreign minister, who had said a political way out of the crisis is the responsibility of Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Tehran seems to be more important to Islamabad and Ankara than the Gulf countries, Gargash added. “Though our economic and investment assets are inevitable, political support is missing at critical moments,” Gargash said.

“The vague and contradictory stands of Pakistan and Turkey are an absolute proof that Arab security — from Libya to Yemen — is the responsibility of none but Arab countries, and the crisis is a real test for neighbouring countries.”

The Pakistan parliament resolution turned down long-standing ally Riyadh’s request for troops, ships and warplanes, saying: “Pakistan should play a mediating role and not get involved in fighting in Yemen.”

“Parliament of Pakistan…underscores the need for continued efforts by the government of Pakistan to find a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” the resolution said.

“(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.”

Saudi Mufti calls for youth conscription

Riyadh — The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Shaikh, who is also chairman of the senior scholars authority has called for military conscription of youth.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz said: “We must prepare our youth properly to become a shield for us in the holy war against the enemies of religion and the nation.”

In his Friday sermon at Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh, he said: “We should well look after our youth and prepare them for enlistment, which will enable them dis-charge their duties effectively.”

“This step is important for our youth towards their religion and for protecting their homeland,” he said, adding that the nation should always be prepared to face enemies.

“We are leading a secure life, a boon that others envied us for,” Shaikh Abdul Aziz said and added that while we should be thankful to Allah for this mercy, our nation should remain alert to defend the religion and country through compulsory military training.

“We should be careful and cautious of the enemies who want to spoil our religion, morals and economy, as well as destroying our unity”, he said, adding that to face such chal-lenges, “we must prepare our youth militarily, intellectually and educationally”.

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