World Pakistan considers supporting airstrikes in Yemen

Pakistan considers supporting airstrikes in Yemen


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

(AA) – Pakistan has said it is considering an “emergency” request from Saudi Arabia to join a military operation against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called an emergency meeting on Thursday evening to consult with top military and civilian officials over the Saudi request, according to local English-language daily Dawn.

The newspaper quoted National Security and Foreign Affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz saying that their decision will be announced after the meeting’s conclusion. 

Earlier, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told reporters at a weekly briefing that Saudi Arabia had contacted Pakistan to request its participation in the operation. 

“I can confirm that we have been contacted by Saudi Arabia in this regard and the matter is being examined. That’s all I have to say at the moment,” said Aslam.

She said the Pakistani community in Yemen had been told to prepare for a possible evacuation if security further deteriorates.

“No decision has yet been taken to shut down the Embassy. As per our practice, the community was already cautioned about the possibility of the situation being deteriorating and advised to evacuate. The Embassy has also been alerted,” she said. 

Several Arab states, all of them allies of Washington, have joined a Saudi-led military offensive against Yemen’s Houthi group, which was launched late Wednesday.

Predominantly-Sunni Saudi Arabia said the strikes were in response to calls by embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi for military intervention in Yemen to “save the people from the Houthi militias.”

Fractious Yemen has descended into violence since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.

Some Gulf countries suspect that the Houthi insurgency is supported by mainly-Shia Iran.

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