ISLAMABAD: Amid reports that Pakistan is all set to join the fight against Huthi rebels in Yemen, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan.
Situation in the Middle East created after Saudi Arabia launches strikes against Huthi rebels in Yemen was discussed in a high level meeting presided by the prime minister in Islamabad on Thursday. Minister for Defense Khawaja Asif, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign and National Security Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman were also present at the meeting.
During the meeting it was decided that a delegation comprising of defence minister and advisor to PM on National Security would leave for Saudi Arabia on March 27 to assess the situation. Senior representatives from the armed forces would also accompany the delegation.
On the occasion, PM Nawaz said Pakistan enjoys close relations with Saudi Arabia, and attached great importance to its security.
Earlier in the day, foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the kingdom had asked Pakistan to join the coalition.
“I can confirm we have been contacted by Saudi Arabia in this regard. The matter is being examined. That’s all I have to say at the moment,” she told a weekly press briefing.
Aslam said no decision had been taken yet on whether to close the Pakistani embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
The official Saudi Press Agency said earlier that Pakistan, along with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, had all “expressed desire to participate in the operation”.
Egypt and Jordan have confirmed they will join Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the coalition.
However, joining the coalition might irk Pakistan’s minority Shia community and neighbour Iran.