Islamabad has hit out at the United Arab Emirates for denouncing a recent vote by Pakistani lawmakers to stay out of the ongoing conflict in Yemen as Saudi Arabia continues deadly airstrikes against the impoverished country.
In a statement released on Sunday, Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan criticized Abu Dhabi for "making threats” against Islamabad.
"This is not only ironic but a thought-provoking moment that a minister of UAE is hurling threats at Pakistan. The statement of the UAE minister is in stark violation of all diplomatic norms prevalent according to the principals of international relations," he said.
The Pakistani official’s remarks were made in response to UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, who described Pakistan's parliamentary vote on the Yemen crisis as "contradictory and dangerous", warning Islamabad of “heavy price” for taking on what he called an “ambiguous stand” over the issue.
On April 10, the Pakistani parliament passed a resolution that urged Islamabad to remain neutral vis-à-vis the conflict in Yemen, dismissing Saudi Arabia’s request to join fatal air raids against the Arabian Peninsula state. The resolution, which was ratified unanimously, also called on all warring factions in Yemen to put an end to deadly clashes and resolve the conflict through dialogue.
Saudi minister’s visit to Pakistan
Saleh bin Abdul-Aziz bin Mohammad al-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia's minister for religious affairs, arrived in Pakistan late on Sunday.
The visit came two days after the Pakistani parliament passed the resolution, rejecting Riyadh’s request for Islamabad’s involvement in airstrikes against Yemen.
The Saudi minister, however, described the Pakistani parliament’s move as a matter of domestic affairs and stressed that relations between the two countries is very strong.
“The resolution passed by Pakistan’s parliament is Pakistan’s internal matter,” he said, adding, “We have very good relations with Pakistan, and we expect a lot of good from it. Pakistan is a very important country, it is a big country in the Islamic world.”
Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen started on March 26, without a UN mandate, in a bid to restore power to the fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been killed and thousands more wounded in the Saudi airborne attacks.
The United Nations has called for an immediate “humanitarian pause” of at least a few hours each day to allow deliveries of urgently needed aid to the the conflict-weary country.