Pakistan and Yemen enjoy excellent brotherly relations as both are intertwined in shared bonds of religion, culture and values.
This was stated by ambassador of Yemen to Pakistan Mohammad Motahar Alashabi in an exclusive interview with News and Current Affairs Channel of Radio Pakistan.
He said Yemen and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1981 by establishing their respective embassies in Islamabad and Sana'a. The Yemeni ambassador said both countries share views on important regional and international issues of concern and reciprocate each other at various world forums. He said around three hundred Yemeni students are studying in Pakistan at various institutions of higher learning as part of bilateral cooperation.
Referring to trade potential between the two countries, Motahar Alashabi said the volume of commerce between Yemen and Pakistan needs much to be desired and can be enhanced in the years to come. He said Pakistan exports food items like wheat, rice, cereals as well as leather and medical goods to Yemen.
He said Pakistan is a peace loving country and is progressing at a good pace. He appreciated the role of Pakistan in peace building efforts in Yemen. The ambassador said Pakistan is blessed with scenic and historic places with lot of potential in tourism.
Turning to conflict raging in Yemen for the last seven years, the ambassador said the ordinary people are paying the price of power struggle between warring groups. Criticizing the Houthi rebels, he said the militant group is perpetrating conflict against the legitimate government of Yemen and wants to rule the country by force. He said they had been part of various negotiations but resorted to violence to achieve their political objectives.
Mentioning diplomatic efforts at various levels to stop war in his country, the Ambassador said the government of Yemen has supported peace initiatives and participated in various international forums to defuse the situation. It also tried to start a national dialogue for peace.
Motahar Alashabi said our main concern is to stop the violence and killing as majority of Yemenis are tired of this war. He said the rebels are getting support from one neighboring country that has led to continuation of war. He alleged that the neighboring country is providing drones, sophisticated weapons and even oil to Houthi rebels to enable them to continue their war.
The Yemeni ambassador said the rebels are not sparing even mosques, homes and businesses of ordinary people in this war. He said there are also incidents of enforced disappearances and other crimes against civilians committed by the rebels.
Appreciating the role of Saudi Arabia, the ambassador said Riyadh has been providing food and other essential supplies to Yemeni people but most of it does not reach to them due to blockage by rebels. He said Saudi Arabian government is also taking steps to bring down the conflict, but militant group in Yemen is not sincere in stopping it.
On a question regarding rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran lately, especially the meeting held in Baghdad in recent weeks, he said we hope some positive result will come out of these negotiations.
He said Yemeni government believes that the United Nations and international community would play their role in bringing peace in Yemen and the region.
Motahar Alashabi said the only solution is the completely stoppage of war and holding of peace talks. He said in 2014 we were about to have referendum and elections and new system to solve all our problems, but unfortunately it could not lateralize due to intransigence of Houthis. He said the only viable solution of Yemeni conflict is to stop the war and holding elections to give democracy a chance to flourish in the country.
The weekly program “Diplomatic Session” was hosted by renowned journalist and columnist Javed Siddiq while Producer of the program was Saeed Ahmad and Executive Producer Abdul Raoof Khan.
The weekly program “Diplomatic Session” is being broadcast from News and Current Affairs Channel and FM 101 networks of Radio Pakistan every Saturday at 1815 hrs.
The show is also available on Radio Pakistan’s official website “www.radio.gov.pk”, Social Media Platforms and Radio Pakistan’s Podcast “podcast.radio.gov.pk”.