Threat to S Arabia will evoke strong reaction from Pakistan: Nawaz

Published March 26, 2015
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. -PM House
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. -PM House

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asserted that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan.

This was said by Nawaz while chairing a high-level meeting at the PM House to discuss recent developments in the Middle East and to examine Saudi Arabia's request to join the Gulf-led operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen, said a statement issued by PM House on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.

Nawaz said Pakistan enjoys close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and attaches great importance to their security.

The participants of the meeting decided that a high-level delegation will visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to assess the situation. Khawaja Asif, Sartaj Aziz along with senior representatives from the armed forces will be part of the delegation in this regard, the statement added.

Earlier, the Foreign Office said Pakistan was examining Saudi Arabia's request.

Sartaj Aziz confirmed that top Saudi officials had contacted the Pakistani leadership requesting it to join the Yemen operation. A decision has not yet been taken, Aziz said.

He further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had summoned a high-level meeting this evening to consult his close aides over the matter.

Earlier during the day, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told reporters at the weekly media briefing in Islamabad that Saudi Arabia had contacted Pakistan on an emergency basis and extended the invitation to join the operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

She did not specify the details of the request made by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan but said that the matter was being examined.

Aslam said that the Pakistani mission in Yemen has been placed on alert and has been asked to keep in touch with the Pakistan community residing there.

"The Pakistani community has been asked to be ready for possible evacuation," she further said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that no decision has been made by Islamabad with regard to closing its mission in Sanaa.

Read: Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes against Houthis in Yemen

Diplomatic sources told DawnNews that a top Saudi functionary has contacted the top leadership of Pakistan over telephone and sought Pakistan's cooperation in the offensive launched in Yemen.

Although Pakistani authorities have given a hint of cooperation, they told the Saudis that a final decision will be takn after consulting the military.

Sources also said the Pakistan permanent mission to UN is also being briefed on this latest crisis.

Saudi Arabia and Gulf region allies launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen on Thursday, Saudi officials said, to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden, where the US-supported Yemeni president had taken refuge.

Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that the kingdom was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes to the operations and that allies Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's SPA state news agency later said that five Muslim countries including Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan want to participate in the Gulf-led military coalition against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.

They have “expressed desire to participate in the operation” against the rebels, which the kingdom dubbed “Firmness Storm”, the state news agency further said.

Read: Houthis consolidate control over Yemen state institutions

These latest developments follow a southward advance by Houthi militants, who are said to be backed by Iran, who took control of the capital Sanaa in September and seized the central city of Taiz at the weekend as they move closer to the new southern base of US-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Iran condemns assault

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned on Thursday the military operation by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies in Yemen, state television reported.

It gave no further details.

Iran denies providing money and training to the Shia Houthi militia in Yemen, as claimed by some Western and Yemeni officials.

Opinion

Editorial

More than economics
Updated 05 Oct, 2022

More than economics

Ishaq Dar’s appointment is but a sign of the paradigm shift in economic policymaking.
Dens of corruption
05 Oct, 2022

Dens of corruption

MOST prisons in Pakistan are a microcosm of the inequitable and exploitative world outside their walls. A probe by...
Football tragedy
05 Oct, 2022

Football tragedy

SPORTS arouses the rawest of human emotions. Football is no exception — in fact, the passions on display at...
Cipher inquiry
Updated 04 Oct, 2022

Cipher inquiry

Inquiry will likely end nowhere, or, worse, be used as a tool of victimisation.
Further delay?
04 Oct, 2022

Further delay?

KARACHI Administrator Murtaza Wahab’s announcement that the second phase of Sindh’s LG polls — primarily...
Losing to England
04 Oct, 2022

Losing to England

AFTER tantalisingly close finishes in the fourth and fifth matches against an England side visiting the country for...