ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif on Thursday told lawmakers in the National Assembly that protection to territory of Saudi Arabia would be ensured at any cost. Responding to an adjournment motion submitted by PTI lawmakers to discuss Pakistan’s membership of the 41-nation Saudi-led military alliance, the minister said resolution adopted during the joint session of parliament to stay out of the war in Yemen would be followed as well. He said the alliance had not been formed yet and that all member states will meet in May this year to formally announce the establishment of the alliance. The minister also assured the parliament that it would be taken into confidence once terms of reference of the alliance against terrorism are finalized. When PTI moved adjournment motion on the military alliance, the treasury benched opted not to oppose it. Khawaja Asif responding to the motion emphatically stated that Pakistan would not become part of any conflict between two Muslim countries. He said in case of emergence of such circumstances, Pakistan would play the role of a moderator. Narrating the standard operating procedure for issuing of no-objection certificate, the minister said former COAS General (R) Raheel Sharif will have to apply for NOC when TORs are finalized. Dr Shireen Mazari of the PTI narrating concerns of his party on the alliance said there were no clear TORs or parameters of the alliance so far. She said no country joins any alliance, least of all a military alliance, which includes boots on the ground without a clear understanding of what the alliance entails. She said terrorism cannot be fought through a multilateral military alliance. She also pointed out contradictory statements of the government regarding issuing NOC to General (r) Sharif. She said the military alliance seemed contradictory to the Article 40 of the constitution of Pakistan which maintained that the state shall endeavor to preserve and strengthen the fraternal relations among the Muslim countries based on Muslim unity and encourage settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. PTI lawmaker Asad Umar said the decision to join Saudi-led alliance was a major decision which could have consequences for Pakistan. He said decision into this effect should only be taken by parliament after a thorough discussion. He said Pakistan became part of CENTO and SEATO in 1950’s and as a result it paid the heavy price in 1971. Dr Arif Alvi demanded sitting of joint session of parliament over the issue. He said counter-narrative of extremism would come from Pakistan and not from other countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran as Pakistan has a lot to share in this context. Earlier opposition leader Khursheed Shah again raised the issue of disappearance of three PPPP loyalists. He said under the law it was mandatory to produce any accused before the judicial magistrate in 24 hours but this was not done in the case of disappearance of PPPP’s loyalists. As the government failed to satisfy the queries of the PPPP lawmakers, they staged walkout from the House. A sexist remark by the leader of the opposition about his female colleagues soured the proceedings. The issue arose when Speaker Ayaz Sadiq asked women lawmakers to keep quiet or step outside to continue their conversation while the House conducted its business. Opposition leader Khursheed Shah, who had been addressing the House when the disruption happened, remarked: “Do not ask these women to stop talking, Mr speaker. They will fall ill if they don’t talk continuously.” The NA speaker was quick to tell Shah, “You are hurting your privilege by speaking this way about women.” Following Shah’s remarks, PPP MNA Nafisa Shah said she would stage a protest, asking why the speaker was only silencing women if men were also talking. The speaker silenced her again, saying, “You cannot challenge the chair.” PPPP lawmaker Dr Shazia Sobia pointed out quorum during the statement of defence minister which led to the adjournment of the sitting till Friday (today).