ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties on Saturday condemned a Houthi attempt to target civilians in the southwest Saudi city of Abha, a day after the Royal Air Defense Force shot down a Houthi drone 230 km north of the Yemen border.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the ruling party’s central information secretary, told Arab News: “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strongly condemns this incident, as it is against international law and the UN charter to target civilians in any conflict.”
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict.
“This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he said.
The civil war in Yemen has pitted the Houthis against the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi since 2014, and the Saudi-led coalition intervened on the government’s side the following year, accusing Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, including drones and missiles.
Since the beginning of the four-year conflict, the Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia with most intercepted by the Saudi military. In recent weeks, tensions between warring parties rose after the stalling of a UN-led peace deal.
The attempted attack has been met with unified condemnation across all party lines in Pakistan.
Raja Mohammed Zafarul Haq, of the PML-N and leader of the opposition in the Senate, said that Houthi rebels were trying to undermine the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia “with the complicity of some other countries.”
Naveed Chaudhry, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, said Houthi rebels should understand the human cost of the conflict and abide by recent UN agreements.
“It is better if the conflict is resolved at the OIC level to the satisfaction of all relevant stakeholders,” he said. “It is a historic fact that Pakistan has always stood by the Kingdom and will continue to do so to protect the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.”
Pakistan’s foreign office has in the past condemned the Houthis for their missile and rocket attacks on Saudi territory, reiterating full support and solidarity to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia and its two holy cities.
After Friday’s attack, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson, told Arab News, “We have always condemned such incidents.”