The following statement was released by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Punjab president of the Awami Workers Party, in response to the Pakistani government stating it intended to join the US-backed Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.
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The Awami Workers Party rejects outright any consideration of Pakistan’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression in Yemen and calls on the government to turn down Saudi Arabia’s offer to participate in the US-approved military campaign in the region. Pakistan is already deeply embroiled in spiralling internal and external conflicts, which the government and Army have thus far failed miserably to resolve. In this context, to get involved in a military quagmire in the Middle East at the behest of the Saudi government that has the potential of significant sectarian blowback is the very definition of insanity.
The AWP further condemns Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen and denounces it as part of the Kingdom’s agenda for the establishment of its sectarian hegemony in the Middle East and its safeguarding of the interests of imperialism in the region. The Pakistani military’s and government’s long-standing subservience to Saudi interests has been one of the principal reasons behind the rise of fundamentalism and elimination of progressive politics in the country and the region.
The AWP considers Saudi involvement in Pakistan to be one of the principal causes of the terrorism and sectarianism plaguing Pakistan today. The Saudi elite’s funding of unregulated madrassas in Pakistan has been a primary driver of the proliferation of religious and sectarian hatred and genocidal violence in our country. The Saudi monarchy has also played a deeply regressive role in the ongoing destruction of the Middle East, through its facilitation of multiple wars of imperialist aggression by NATO, its outright support to various authoritarian regimes in the region and providing the ideological and material fount from which fascist entities like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have emerged. Pakistan’s continued political, economic and military alliance with the Kingdom perpetuates both the unequal political economy of deprivation in Pakistan and the proliferation of deeply reactionary and violent interpretations of Islam.
By joining the Saudi campaign to protect “Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity”, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated, Pakistan will be further contributing to sectarian warfare both within Pakistan and in the wider region. Pakistan needs to maintain neutrality in the larger conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and detach itself from its deeply destructive ideological and military partnership with the Saudi monarchy and focus its attention on eliminating the spiralling violence, fascism, militarism and mass deprivation tearing the country apart within its own borders.