Pakistan urged to quit Saudi-led alliance

Dhaka,  Fri,  28 July 2017
Published : 13 Jun 2017, 20:34:44
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Pakistan urged to quit Saudi-led alliance

A leading Pakistani newspaper on Tuesday urged the government to immediately end its involvement in the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance (IMA), according to The Statesman.

"There may be many strands to the latest crisis engulfing the Middle East, but there is only one conclusion for Pakistan: this country cannot afford to get embroiled in conflict in the Middle East," the Dawn said in an editorial.

While Pakistan should help defuse tensions among the various state actors in the Middle East, it also needs to withdraw from the IMA, the daily said.

"The bizarre and patently false assertion by a section of the Turkish state-run media that the Pakistani Parliament is considering sending thousands of troops to Qatar underlines the risks involved in a conflict in which the media has become a weapon."

The Pakistan Foreign Office has denied the reports.

The editorial said Pakistan's national interest require it to stay neutral in the current crisis in the Gulf that has pitted Qatar against Saudi Arabia and its allies including the UAE and Bahrain.

"That ... would require Pakistan to suspend its military participation in the IMA and withdraw retired Gen Raheel Sharif from his command of future IMA forces.

"Simply, recent events in the Middle East have shattered the assumptions on which Pakistan's original inclusion in the IMA was premised.

"The IMA was supposed to be a counterterrorism force and there was no threat greater than the militant Islamic State group that Muslim-majority countries could jointly fight.

"But the Saudi leadership has made clear that it primarily wants to contain Iran and, now, cut Qatar down to size, effectively destroying any possibility that the IMA can become a platform for all Muslim-majority countries... Withdrawal from the IMA has become essential."

(compiled by Rafiqul Islam)

 
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