ISLAMABAD - Pakistan would oppose any resolution calling for authorization of military action against Syria on alleged use of chemical weapons if put to vote before the UN Security Council, informed sources told The Nation.
Pakistan’s foreign policy does not afford any room for supporting a resolution for armed intervention as in principle it is against use of force and undermining the sovereignty of a state.
The issue will be discussed and debated in the Parliament today when Prime Minister’s advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs presents the government’s position on this matter.
Sartaj Aziz, who has been facing scathing criticism from the opposition parties for not yet giving a clear policy statement on Syria will brief the parliamentarians on this and other key foreign policy issues.
On Wednesday the entire opposition in the National Assembly staged a walk-out to protest that it had not been briefed by Aziz or the Foreign Office on Syria and LoC situation.
Sartaj Aziz was at the Foreign Office till late Thursday night preparing the statement that is expected to give government’s policy response to the evolving situation.
On Thursday evening when The Nation approached him for his comments on Syria, Aziz was in no mood to take questions as he was in the midst of preparing the statement. “I am working on a statement for the parliament and therefore I do not want to divert my attention to anything else.”
Earlier in the day Foreign Office Spokesperson Aizaz Chaudhary told a news briefing here that as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Pakistan was keeping a close watch on the developing situation in Syria.
In a hint that Pakistan would not vote in favour of a resolution calling for military action, he noted: “Pakistan believes that sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected. Use of force must be avoided at all costs as the people of Syria have already suffered enormously.”
He added: “Pakistan condemns the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. In this context, Pakistan notes that a United Nations team is conducting an investigation. We stress the importance of establishing facts before any precipitate action is taken.”
On Syria Pakistan has repeatedly urged all sides to pursue a policy of restraint and engage in an inclusive political dialogue to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Islamabad is also mindful of the fact that there are two opinions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. US bloc claims that Syrian government used chemical weapons and the Russian bloc claims that the insurgents used chemical weapons with active assistance of countries closely allied with the US.
On the differing opinions on forces behind use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan had condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Referring to the UN investigation team in Syria conducting investigation into the matter, he emphasised: “We believe the international community should wait for the outcome of investigation before any action is taken.”