Pakistan examining Saudi request to join Yemen operation

” Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that Saudi Arabia was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes to the operations and that allies Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen.”

Islamabad, March 26(IANS) – Pakistan on Thursday said it was examining Saudi Arabia’s request to join the Gulf-led operation against Shia Houthi militias in Yemen.

Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz confirmed that top Saudi officials had contacted the Pakistani leadership requesting it to join the Yemen operation, Dawn online reported.

A decision has not yet been taken, Aziz said.

Earlier in the day, foreign office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam during the weekly media briefing in Islamabad said that Saudi Arabia had contacted Pakistan on an emergency basis and extended the invitation to join the operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

She did not specify the details of the request made by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan but said that the matter was being examined.

Aslam said that the Pakistani mission in Yemen has been placed on alert and has been asked to keep in touch with the Pakistan community residing there.

The Pakistani community has been asked to be ready for possible evacuation, she further said.

Aslam said that no decision has been made by Islamabad with regard to closing its mission in Sanaa.

Although Pakistani authorities have given a hint of cooperation, they told the Saudis that a final decision would be taken after consulting the military, she added.

Sources also said the Pakistan permanent mission to UN was also being briefed on this latest crisis.

Saudi Arabia and Gulf region allies launched military operations including airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday to counter the Shia Houthis besieging the southern city of Aden.

Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that Saudi Arabia was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes to the operations and that allies Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen.

These latest developments follow a southward advance by Houthi militants, who took control of the capital Sanaa in September and seized the central city of Taiz last week as they move closer to the new southern base of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.