ISLAMABAD - Nearly seven months back when the ruling PML-N succeeded in thwarting an unprecedented anti-government sit-in that wanted the regime to roll back, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is faced again with similar situation by calling together joint session of the parliament but this time for saving a regime in Middle East.

The crisis in Yemen has triggered Premier Sharif to convene joint session of the parliament on Monday for debating the turmoil in Middle East and to take the lawmakers in confidence whether Pakistan should formally join Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen or dispatch its troops to Saudi Arabia for protecting the territorial integrity of the land of two Holy Mosques that faces threats from what is happening in Sanaa.

Pakistan, according to ministers and media reports, is needed by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help the latter that leads airstrikes against rebels in Yemen to step into the war and join Arab coalition against Houthi rebels.

Both the Foreign Office and Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif so far have given no clear indication about whether or not Pakistan would join the strikes against rebels in Yemen. However, the government has repeatedly pledged its help in case there is direct threat to Saudi Arabia from what is evolving in Yemen.

Will the consensus in joint session of the parliament be the key to Premier Sharif's formal decision of joining the war or abstaining from meddling into other's affairs?

"Usually such sensitive decisions are not left at the mercy of parliamentarians in our country. But it is encouraging that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif referred the case to the parliament. The pre-consensus among political parties is that we should not become part of any war," Senior PPP leader and Senator Farhatullah Babar told The Nation when asked if the joint session would decide the role of Pakistan in Yemen crisis.

"The joint session of the parliament would help international community know opinions of lawmakers in Pakistan about situation in Yemen. After all, Pakistan is not a kingdom but a democratic country," Senator Babar said.

But a PML-N lawmaker who wished not to be named said that the joint session of the parliament convened for debating crisis in Yemen would prove a face-saving for Premier Sharif in both cases - to join or refrain from the war.

He argued that rulers in Saudi Arabia had pinned hopes on Premier Sharif keeping in view his cordial relations with the monarchs, his business ventures and his recent life in exile there. "He (Mian Nawaz Sharif) seems to be in catch 22 situation. He knows the aftershocks that would haunt him at home after stepping into Middle East," he said adding that within PML-N, some are tilted towards the kingdom and some are having cautious approach.

The major opposition party, PPP, has already warned about becoming part of the war in Yemen while PTI, which that would be attending the session for the first time after boycotting National Assembly for seven months, has already uttered similar statements.

The joint session that would debate turmoil in Yemen has been convened at a time when Pakistan Army is still engaged in its decisive operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists at home launched in June last year.

"I think Pakistan has plenty of excuses to humbly decline Saudi request of striking rebels in Yemen. We are front line state against war on terror. Our forces are already engaged in war against terrorists," a PML-N lawmaker said.

 He added that the decision was not only difficult for civilian leadership but was also challenging for security establishment alike, adding that at the same time Pakistan values the friendship of brotherly Saudi Arabia too.

Another PML-N leader said Premier Sharif bowed down to the demands of firebrand Chairman of PTI Imran Khan by agreeing to establish judicial commission for probing 2013 elections.

"This friendly approach of government towards opposition (PTI) indicates that Premier Sharif wants to keep opposition calm at home in order to meet the expectations of Arab leaders," he opined.

Premier Sharif's loyalty to Arab monarchs in Saudi Arabia could be judged from the fact that he and his younger brother Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif rushed to meet the newly-crowned King Salman on March 4-5 this year when his party had good chances of sweeping Senate election.