ISLAMABAD: Pakistan called upon the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the international community to play a constructive role in finding a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.
The appeal was made in a high-level civil-military meeting on Monday, presided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to review the situation in Yemen.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, Advisor to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and secretary foreign affairs among other senior officials.
An official statement from the PM House said the meeting concluded that Pakistan remains firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
It was also emphasised in the meeting that Pakistan is committed to playing a meaningful role in resolving the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.
To achieve that objective and to promote peace and unity in the Muslim Ummah, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be contacting leaders of ‘brotherly countries.’
No decision on joining military campaign in Yemen
As a high-level defence delegation is likely to leave for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a security official told Reuters that there would be no decision on joining the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen before the visit.
“There can be no decision (on joining the military campaign) before the delegation's visit,” one official said.
The team, led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Affairs and Foreign Security Sartaj Aziz, was due to leave either on Monday or in the next few days, security officials told Reuters.
Pakistan evacuated about 500 of its nationals by plane from Yemen on Sunday during a brief pause in air strikes by the Saudi-led military coalition against Shia Muslim Houthi forces, a Saudi military spokesman said.
He said there were already around 750-800 Pakistani servicemen in Saudi Arabia but none were combat troops.
He declined to comment about their duties and it was not immediately clear what kind of military support Saudi Arabia was seeking.
Pakistan is a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the main Sunni Muslim power in the Gulf, but has yet to commit itself publicly to military support to Riyadh's campaign in Yemen.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a telephone call with Saudi King Salman on Saturday, offered “all potentials of the Pakistan army”, media quoted the Saudi Press Agency as saying.
Army takes part in joint military exercise
The military said it is holding a joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia. The statement issued by military's media wing on Monday said the drill is taking place near the city of Taif, in the mountains near Mecca in the western part of Saudi Arabia.
It has been underway since March 19, with 292 Pakistani troops taking part. The drill is an annual event and was held in Pakistan last year. The exercise, dubbed Samsam-5, comes as a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries is targeting Iran-backed Shiite rebels and their allies in Yemen in a campaign of airstrikes that began last week.