Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on Thursday for a joint session of Parliament to consider whether to join the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
The premier ensured that all decisions pertaining to the conflict would be taken in accordance with the wishes of Pakistan’s people.
Regarding such decisions, PM Nawaz advised the president to convene a joint session of parliament on Monday 6 April to discuss the matter which is of national importance.
Khawaja Asif, on Monday will be addressing parliamentarians about the current issues pertaining to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and Pakistan’s involvement.
According to reports, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan may be attending the session in the assembly.
Civil-military leadership keen on testing JF-17 Thunder in Yemen
The civil-military leadership is keen on testing the newly-acquired JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, while the Kingdom has also expressed interest in trained personnel from Pakistan's Armed Forces, sources present at a high-level meeting at the PM House confirmed.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over a meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation pertaining to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
With the deputy air chief present in the visiting delegation, sources from the PM House confirmed that civil military leadership was interested to see their JF17 Thunder's used in KSA. He was further assigned the task to assess what could be offered to the Kingdom.
Although Saudi Arabia does not require air force equipment, they expressed interest in well trained personnel from the Pakistan Air Force who could offer their services to Saudi Arabia.
During the meeting, it was affirmed that national interest would remain the guiding principle of Pakistan's policy.
The premier reaffirmed that any isolation of Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan and that concerned authorities would stay engaged with with their Saudi counterparts in this regard.
The premier stressed on the close historical cultural and religious affinities between the people of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
It was further disclosed that Pakistan condemned the action taken by non-state stakeholders in Yemen to overthrow a legitimate government, and called upon the factions to resolve all issues peacefully.
Thursday's meeting comprising Khawaja Asif, Sartaj Aziz and representatives of the armed forces are said to brief PM Nawaz about their talks with the Saudi leadership and what proposals and decisions were put forward.
Read: Political solution for Yemen: Pakistan to mount diplomatic push
According to sources, Chief of General Staff Let General Ashfaq Nadeem has briefed the premier about meeting with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia.
Nadeem reportedly received details of how the armed forces of both countries should cooperate and at what time Pakistan will dispatch its troops to the Kingdom.
Sources added that chief of general staff was instructed to find out more about Saudi Arabia's requirements how far Pakistan can meet them.
Nadeem previously served as DG Military Operations in Pakistan and has acquired relevant experience to assess the requirements, should the country need to deploy troops in the Kingdom.
During his interaction with the Kingdom's authorities they revealed their military requirements, the strength required, time frame and equipment needed, the mode of training that will be used and how the forces will coordinate.
PM Nawaz to leave for Turkey
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will leave for Turkey on Friday to discuss the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, Express News reported.
Pakistan and Turkey have not yet joined the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Pakistan has repeatedly vowed to protect Saudi territorial integrity, whereas media reports suggest that Turkey has offered the Kingdom technical assistance.
All Parties Conference on Yemen
An All Parties Conference (APC) will be called upon after a consensus was reached regarding the government's decision to send troops to the Kingdom.
Sources further said that once the APC was called to be formed by PM Nawaz, it would signal the movement of Pakistan's forces to the Kingdom.
The sources concluded that although plans of sending troops to Saudi Arabia were finalised, the movement of forces, equipment and other requirements would be finalised during the meeting.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Sirajul Haq took to Twitter to express his concerns pertaining to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
The issue of sending troops to KSA should be discussed in Parliament/APC. Irresponsible statements from Govt & Opp should be avoided— Siraj ul Haq (@SirajOfficial) April 2, 2015
Pakistan & Turkey should play positive role in Yemen crises & bring all stakeholders on table. PM's visit to turkey can be a starting point— Siraj ul Haq (@SirajOfficial) April 2, 2015
Pakistan should play peacemaker: PTI chairman
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan suggested on Thursday the government should take up the role of ‘peacemaker’ in the Yemen crisis.
“Pakistan should become peacemaker instead of becoming a party in a crisis between two Muslim countries,” the PTI chairman said, while addressing the media at his residence in Bani Gala.
Regarding the confusion surrounding government’s decision of providing Saudi Arabia all necessary military assistance, Imran said the nation is anxious to know about the decision as reports suggest that Pakistan has decided to send its army.
Evacuation under way
More Pakistanis arrived at Aden port on Thursday ready to be brought back home via a Chinese navy vessel, according to Express News.
A PIA flight led by Captain Sadiq Rehman departed from Karachi on Wednesday to bring back 215 stranded Pakistanis from Yemen after they made their way from Aden port to Djibouti.
Read: Yemen imbroglio: Pakistan mulls limited mission for Saudi security
Pakistan faces dilemma whether to join the Saudi Arabia led coalition or to stay out of it at the expense of angering its old ally which is also a provider of huge financial support.
Read: 600 Pakistanis reach Hudaidah safely from the Yemeni war-torn capital
With many Pakistanis still stranded in the conflict-torn country, and several who have had their passports seized; a high power military huddle on Monday decided to initiate a diplomatic offensive to facilitate a political solution to the worsening security crisis in the Arabian Peninsula.
The premier in today's meeting stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and promoting the unity of Muslim Ummah.
Read: Pakistan should play negotiator's role rather than take part in Yemen war, says Imran
Chinese ship with 180 passengers on board have left for Djibouti. Estimated time of arrival 7 pm local time (9 pm our time)— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) April 2, 2015
Pakistan navy ship has also reached Mokallah to evacuate our citizens— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) April 2, 2015
Pakistan flag displayed among Saudi-led coalition states
As a Saudi military spokesperson briefed journalists on the Yemen campaign, what came to be of greater interest was Pakistan's flag among the other ten flags behind him. The visual surfaces at a time when there is no official confirmation whether Pakistan will be part of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
A photograph released by Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri after his discussion on the Operation 'Decisive Storm' started making the rounds on social media.
Read: Another PIA flight to bring stranded Pakistanis from Yemen
The photograph shows Asiri at the news briefing with 11 flags displayed behind him, including those of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Read: Yemen imbroglio:Pakistan mulls limited mission for Saudi security
As the coalition's air power targeted Yemen for the fourth day, Asiri said that there would be no safe haven for the militias in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Read: Political solution for Yemen: Pakistan to mount diplomatic push
Since the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen began, Pakistan maintained that it had not joined the military coalition nor has it sent any military personnel to actively participate in any operation against the militia in Yemen.
A final decision on the matter can only be made once the high-level delegation which was involved in talks with Saudi officials on Wednesday brief Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the proposals and actions to be taken.
Read: Pakistanis reach Hudaidah safely from the Yemeni war-torn capital
Once the photograph started making its rounds on social media, it was questioned why the flag was present among the others to which the spokesperson at the Foreign Office told a local newspaper
"I cannot speak for the government of Saudi Arabia. It is for them to comment on Pakistan’s flag amongst others at the press conference. Our views are very clear as have been articulated time and again and most recently by the PM himself."
Read: Should Pakistan be party to the Saudi-Yemen conflict?
A statement from PM Nawaz's office said "Pakistan remains firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, while also emphasising that Pakistan stands committed to playing a meaningful role in arresting the deteriorating situation in the Middle East."
It was earlier noted that CNN had apologised to Pakistan for reporting that Pakistani fighter jets had taken part in the fighting in Yemen. Pakistan was named among other countries who were part of the Operation Decisive Storm.
Many took to Twitter to question the reasoning behind Pakistan's flag present among the other coalition states.
Ask Saudis why they put our flag in the presser, is the cavalier message of our FO. They won't tell us why Pak didn't protest against it.— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) April 2, 2015
Pak officials say why Saudis put up their flag in coalition's press conference when they haven't joined coalition? pic.twitter.com/wl7Sr1rpsN— Shaista Sadat Lameh (@ShaistaLameh) March 31, 2015
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