Pakistan warned of a “strong reaction” in case of any threat to the territorial integrity of its close ally Saudi Arabia which has launched air strikes in neighbouring strife-torn Yemen, though Islamabad is yet to decide whether to accede to Riyadh’s request for troops.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting today to review the evolving situation in Yemen, after a special delegation visited Saudi Arabia to discuss the security situation.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who had led the delegation on Tuesday and returned last night briefed the meeting about the visit and discussion with the Saudi officials.
According to an official statement Pakistan would stand by the Saudi Arabia in case of any threat.
“Given the close historical cultural and religious affinities between the peoples of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it was reaffirmed that any isolation of Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will evoke a strong response from Pakistan,” the meeting decided.
It said that concerned authorities will stay engaged with their Saudi counterparts in this regard.
However, Pakistan has still to decide on the crucial issue of whether to send ground troops as requested by Saudi Arabia to counter the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.
An official said that the issue was discussed in the meeting but no decision taken and the government decided to take the matter to the parliament.
The statement said that “Prime Minister is advising the President to convene a joint session of parliament on Monday, April 6 to discuss this matter of national importance”.
The meeting also affirmed that Pakistan’s national interest will remain the guiding principle of its policy.
The prime minister further emphasised that all decisions in the matter will be taken in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan.
According to the statement, the meeting also condemned the “actions by non-state actors in Yemen to overthrow a legitimate government, and calls upon the warring factions to resolve all issues peacefully”.
The prime minister also stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and promoting the unity in the Muslim world.
Sharif was also updated on the evacuation of stranded Pakistanis from Yemen and the efforts being undertaken for bringing them back to Pakistan.
He directed that efforts must continue till the evacuation of all Pakistanis stranded in Yemen.