ISLAMABAD - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due in Islamabad today (Wednesday) and is likely to urge it to reject a request to join a Saudi-led campaign against Iran-allied Houthi forces in Yemen.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on Tuesday for Iran to get involved in talks on security in Yemen as parliament debated whether Pakistan should join the Saudi-led operation.
The debate resumes on Wednesday.
Zarif has repeatedly said the conflict in Yemen should be overcome through dialogue and not firepower. Other countries accuse Iran of using the conflict as a cover to expand its regional influence.
"All countries must work toward establishing stability and preventing the spread of insecurity in the region," Zarif said last month.
The Sunni royal family of Saudi Arabia and Iran's Shi'ite theocracy are rivals for power in the Middle East. Their competition frequently fuels sectarian violence.
Last month, a Saudi-led coalition began conducting air strikes in Yemen against Houthi rebels allied with Iran. Saudi Arabia and Yemen share a border and Saudi Arabia says it is afraid that instability might spill over to its territory.
Saudi Arabia wants its staunch ally, Sunni-majority Pakistan, to join the coalition, and has requested ships, aircraft and troops.
Pakistan's parliament began debating the request on Monday and legislators have been united in the view that Pakistan should not send troops for the Saudis to use in Yemen.
Although there are many groups in the complex Yemen conflict, Pakistani lawmakers fear it could develop into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and inflame already simmering sectarian tension at home.
Pakistan shares a long, porous border with Iran in its gas- and mineral-rich southwestern province of Baluchistan, where separatist rebels have for years been battling the government.
Iran has proposed building an export pipeline to gas-starved Pakistan, a project postponed because of the threat of US sanctions and Pakistan's lack of cash and investors.
Eight Iranian border guards were killed in southeast Iran in a cross-border militant raid near the frontier with Pakistan on Monday, Iranian media reported.
Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province has long been plagued by unrest from both drug gangs and militants. The population of the province is predominantly Sunni.
Prime Minister Sharif has said he will defend Saudi Arabia's "territorial integrity" but not spelled out what, if any, commitments he has made. On Tuesday, Sharif told lawmakers Iran should be part of the debate. - Reuters
About 92 News HD Live Main TV Channel of Pakistan:
92 News (also known as 92 News HD Plus (Channel 92) is a conservative Urdu language TV channel based in Lahore, Pakistan.
Mian Muhammad Hanif is the chairman of the channel.
This TV channel is a subsidiary of Madinah Group under Galaxy Media Group.
The channel's name, 92, is to celebrate the 1992 Cricket World Cup won by Pakistan. The number 92 is also the telephone country calling code of Pakistan, which is another major reason behind the channel's name.
92 News HD is Pakistan’s first HD Plus News Channel. Aims to bring credible & responsible News & important stories from Pakistan & around the World
We bring you Latest Pakistani and International News at 92 News Hd Plus to Read and Watch
We believe in genuine and true journalism, we do not prevail sensation just for ratings.
We do not hide news but never tend to add any unethical content or angling that goes against the norms of our religion Islam and Pakistan's culture.
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