Pakistan mulling Saudi request: Sharif


Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told parliament  that Islamabad will respond to Saudi Arabia’s request for military assistance after parliament concludes a debate on the crisis in Yemen.

Sharif’s remarks came a day after Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the Saudi kingdom has sought fighter jets, warships and ground troops from Pakistan as the Saudi-led Arab allies continued airstrikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen, Xinhua news agency reported.

The prime minister said his government would make a decision on Saudi Arabia’s request in line with the recommendations of the lawmakers.

The government has summoned a joint session of parliament’s two houses exclusively for a debate about Pakistan’s possible role in the Yemen conflict.

Sharif described Saudi Arabia as the best friend of Pakistan and reiterated all support to the kingdom if its sovereignty was threatened. However, he said there was currently no threat to Saudi Arabia.

“What our friends need from us we have kept it in mind. You should guide us. We will stand with Saudi Arabia if there is any threat to it. But there is no threat at the moment,” the prime minister said when the house continued a debate on the Yemen crisis for the second day.

Political leaders have opposed joining the Arab conflict as Pakistan still suffers because it jumped into the war in Afghanistan, in reference to former president Pervez Musharraf’s decision to offer military bases to the US.

“The MPs should give advice as to how we should respond to the request by Saudi Arabia,” Sharif said, insisting the government would adopt a policy after listening to the members of parliament.

Sharif informed the house that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would send his foreign minister to Islamabad to brief on his recent visit to Iran.