Civil Society National Statement 5 April 2015
The Government of Pakistan reiterates its intention to “protect the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)”. However, the sole purpose of the current Saudi-led Arab military coalition is aggression against Yemen. KSA has formally asked Pakistan for ‘boots on the ground’, ‘fighter jets in the air’ and ‘naval ships on the water’ to protect its Royal Family.
Still grievously suffering from the wounds of our past mercenary services, e.g. the bombing of Palestinian refugees in Jordan (Black September 1970), Pakistan has learned no lessons. Killing Yemenis is inhuman, immoral, and a plainly visible disaster in the offing, which will push back Pakistan and the entire region by hundreds of years.
Why is the Government becoming so reckless on the Yemen issue, which we should not touch with a barge pole? Pakistan is bending over backwards to comply with the self-seeking desires of the House of Saud. We are also fabricating false narratives that easily outdo those in George Orwell’s “1984”. There are at least six falsehoods being used to mislead the people of Pakistan.
First: We must aid KSA because it is a ‘brotherly Muslim country’. Why do we deliberately remain silent on the fact that Yemen is also a Muslim country? If ‘brotherhood’ is based on being Muslim, then all Muslim countries should be our ‘brothers’. Why is Pakistan agreeing to kill one group of our Muslim ‘brothers’ (Yemenis) by taking money from the other (House of Saud)?
Second: Propagating the impression that Yemen is attacking KSA. The truth is the opposite. KSA and its Arab allies are attacking and bombing Yemen, not vice versa.
Third: Intentionally creating wrong perceptions about three completely different entities: KSA, House of Saud (Royal Clan) and the Muslim holy sites: Mecca and Madina. The fact is: there is absolutely no danger to the holy sites, except from KSA itself (see report by Islamic Heritage Research Foundation: http://time.com/3584585/saudi-arabia-bulldozes-over-its-heritage).
Fourth: Advocating that it is in Pakistan’s ‘national interest to support KSA’. The fact is that Pakistan’s national interest, and international standing as a UN member, will be irreversibly compromised by becoming an ally of the KSA-led Arab coalition, which has blatantly violated the UN Charter by its unprovoked and ILLEGAL act of aggression against Yemen, without a UN mandate.
Fifth: Emphasising KSA’s friendship and favours to Pakistan. The fact is that KSA heavily funds violent extremist jihadi groups and fights its proxy wars with Iran in Pakistan. Yemen does not. Does any Pakistani need to be convinced how Saudis treat Pakistanis in KSA with contempt and disrespect?
Sixth: Stating that ‘Pakistan’s international prestige and status will go up because of its involvement in the Saudi-led war’. The fact is that Pakistan will be further ridiculed as an insane country that is willing to rent out its armed forces when its own house is on fire. There is no doubt that Pak involvement will generate a new set of enemies, including Iran (another ‘brotherly’ Muslim country).
Our government thinks that Pakistani citizens have no say on this vital issue. But we DO. We demand that Pakistan must not compromise its armed forces into a mercenary force up for rent; that we deal with our own problems rather than seeking new conflicts in distant lands and taking sides in a complex situation. We believe that “the strength of a country must not be measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them.” [ends-570]
Note: This statement has been endorsed by individuals and organisations listed below. In case you want to endorse it, kindly mention so in the comments underneath with your full name and affiliation etc.
Endorsed by following:
- Naeem Sadiq, activist from Karachi
- Tahira Abdullah, activist from Islamabad
- Marvi Sirmed, activist from Islamabad
- Samar Minallah, activist from Islamabad
- Yasmeen Qazi, activist
- Tahira Jabeen, activist from Islamabad
- Ambreen Ahmad, activist from Islamabad
- Mumtaz Hussain, activist
- Shabeen Naz Mehmood, activist
- Rukhshanda Naz, activist
- Reema Abbasi, Journalist from Karachi
- Imtiaz Alam, journalist from Lahore
- Zia ur Rehman, activist from Multan
- Taha Siddiqui, journalist from Islamabad
- Shehzad Ahmad, activist from Islamabad
- Rashid Aurakzai, activist from Abbottabad
- Maria Rasheed, activist from Islamabad
- Taimur Kamal, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network
- Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, Scholar from Islamabad / Bahawalpur
- Abdullah Dayo, activist from Islamabad
- Meraj Hayun, MPA Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- Sirmed Manzoor, journalist from Islamabad
- Saliha Ramay, activist
- Omaid Malik, activist from Lahore
- Babar Bashir, activist from Islamabad
- Sumaira Ishfaq, activist from Islamabad
- Sidra Saeed, activist from Islamabad
- Joint Action Committee, Lahore
- Women’s Action Forum Karachi
- Shirkat Gah, Lahore
- Sachet, Islamabad
- Pirbhat Women Development Society
- The New Communities
- Islamabad Debates, Islamabad
- Progressive Youth Forum, Islamabad
- Justice Project Pakistan, Lahore