Alliance formed to pressurise govt to send troops to S. Arabia (Dawn (Pakistan))

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  • April 3, 2015
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Some religious and sectarian parties, one of them a banned group, has formed an alliance to mount pressure on the government to send troops to Saudi Arabia for what they called the defence of holy sites.
Tehreek-e-Difa-e-Harmain Sharifain was formed by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami, Ansarul Ummah, Sunni Ulema Council, Sunni Wahdat Council, Sunni Tulba Ittehad and the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) at a meeting held at the Lal Masjid on Thursday.
The alliance will hold demonstrations across the country.
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The ASWJ will act as coordinator for the new alliance.
ASWJ chief Allama Ahmed Ludhianvi accused Iran of posing a threat to holy sites in Saudi Arabia by supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.
He justified Saudi air strikes inside Yemen, saying that Riyadh took this decision after sensing danger from its southern neighbour.
JUI-S secretary general Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi said the nation would welcome the decision of the government to send troops to Saudi Arabia.
However, analysts saw the formation of the new alliance as an attempt to portray the Yemen conflict as a sectarian problem.
They were of the opinion that the fighting in Yemen and the Saudi anxiety about Houhtis rise in the country was a political issue.
“This is a dangerous trend that people involved in sectarianism and extremism in the country are trying to mount pressure on the government to send troops to a foreign country,” said Amir Rana, director of Pakistan Institute of Policy Studies (PIPS).
However, he added, it was significant that the countrys main religious parties, such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, were not part of such an alliance.
He said it would be bad for both the government and the army to take an important decision under pressure from sectarian groups.
Analyst and senior journalist Amir Mateen said that some religious and sectarian parties were trying to portray the Saudi-Yemen conflict as a Shia-Sunni divide.
He said the government should not bow to pressure from religious or sectarian groups.