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Pak warns of backlash from Gulf states

A day after Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution against the country’s military participation in a Saudi-led coalition that’s fighting in Yemen, government officials in Islamabad warned of a backlash from the Gulf states in the days to come.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2015 01:24 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

A day after Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution against the country’s military participation in a Saudi-led coalition that’s fighting in Yemen, government officials in Islamabad warned of a backlash from the Gulf states in the days to come.

The resolution, unanimously passed, urged the government to begin work in the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation bloc to bring about a ceasefire. It was passed by a special joint session of parliament backed the government’s commitment to protect Saudi Arabia’s territory.

But this does not seem to have gone down well in the Gulf states.

On Saturday, the UAE slammed Pakistan’s decision as “dangerous and unexpected”. The United Arab Emirates said the country was favouring Iran over the Gulf nations. “The Pakistani parliament’s resolution, which promoted neutrality on the Yemeni conflict, and voiced support for Saudi Arabia is contradictory and dangerous and unexpected from Islamabad,” UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a flight of a Pakistani airline, Shaheen Air, was denied entry on Friday into Saudi Arabia’s airspace after it failed to meet safety standards. The airline failed to produce the required documents leading authorities to bar it from landing in Saudi Arabia.

Shaheen Air had reportedly applied for the necessary documents in advance but their request was rejected.

Analysts said that the decision not to allow Shaheen Airlines to fly on its regular route to Saudi Arabia is the beginning of an economic blockade that the Gulf states may start against Pakistan. “We also see the deportation of Pakistani workers from Saudi and other Gulf states in days to come,” commented Haris Gazdar, a social scientist based in Karachi.