ISLAMABAD: Pakistan confirmed on Thursday it is currently examining Saudi Arabia’s request to provide assistance to overcome the on-going crisis in Yemen.
“The Saudi request to become part of its coalition against Yemeni rebels is currently being examined,” Foreign Office Tasnim Aslam said, during her weekly press briefing in Islamabad.
The request was said to be made during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia where he was accorded an unprecedented welcome.
Riyadh is increasingly worried over the advances made by Houthi rebels in Yemen as it fears that they can infiltrate into the Kingdom.
Earlier today, Saudi Arabia said five Muslim countries, including Egypt and Pakistan, want to participate in the Gulf-led military coalition against Huthi rebels who have seized large swathes of Yemen.
“The Pakistani community in Yemen has been alerted in view of the current situation there. No decision, however, has so far been taken to shut down the embassy,” Aslam added.
Further, Aslam said Pakistan embassy in Yemen has been asked to remain alert for evacuation of Pakistani community in case the situation further deteriorates.
Together with Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, they have “expressed desire to participate in the operation” against the rebels, which the kingdom dubbed “Firmness Storm”, Saudi SPA state news agency said.
Saudi Arabia and four other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, announced earlier a decision to “answer the call of President Hadi to protect Yemen and his people from the aggression of the Huthi militia.”
Aslam insisted that Pakistan has always played a positive role in creating unity among the Muslim ‘Ummah.’ She further said Islamabad was against creating divisions in the Muslim world on the sectarian lines.
The decision on committing troops for Saudi Arabia is tricky one as this may have negative implications in terms of Islamabad’s ties with neighboring Tehran.
Indian case against Hurriyat leader
Responding to a question regarding the registration of a case by India against Hurriyat leader Asiya Andrabi for singing Pakistan’s national anthem, the spokesperson said, “The registration of case against the Hurriyat leader reinforces that the people in Occupied Kashmir are being subjected to suppression and denied the right to express their views and sentiments.”
Further, the spokesperson said, “Future of the territory is to be decided by the people of Jammu and Kashmir through exercise of free and fair plebiscite as guaranteed by the UN Security Council resolutions.”
Switching focus to the Samjhota train attack case, she said the bereaved Pakistani families still await justice despite lapse of so many years.
Chinese president’s visit
Aslam said the dates of the Chinese president’s visit will be announced simultaneously in Beijing and Islamabad.
“During the visit, the two sides will review the whole gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and international matters of common interests.”
She said the two countries will also sign some important agreements in order further cement the friendly and strategic relations.