Pakistan to help S. Arabia fight any threat (Dawn (Pakistan))

Pakistan vowed on Thursday to sternly respond to threats to Saudi Arabias territorial integrity and said that an assessment mission was being sent to the kingdom to examine the situation.
The decision was announced after a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes in Sanaa against Houthi militia that had deposed Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
“On 27th March, 2015, a delegation comprising Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif and Adviser to PM on National Security Sartaj Aziz would visit Saudi Arabia to assess the situation. Senior representatives from the armed forces would also accompany the delegation,” the Prime Ministers Office said in a statement issued after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif consulted his top defence and national security aides on the situation in Yemen.
The meeting was convened after Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz called Mr Sharif to know about Pakistans decision on kingdoms call for deployment originally made when the latter visited Riyadh earlier this month on a special invitation from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Soon after the telephonic conversation, the Saudi government released the news of Pakistan expressing its willingness to join the coalition, even though the Foreign Office kept insisting that the request was being examined.
Mission being sent to the kingdom to assess situation
Saudi Arabias official SPA news agency said in a statement: “Pakistan declared willingness to participate in Al-Hazm Storm Operation in response to the welcome by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab states as well as international community to participation in the operation, based on a direct request from the legitimate Yemeni government (sic).”
The meeting, attended by Khawaja Asif, Sartaj Aziz, Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, decided that: “Any threat to Saudi Arabias territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan.”
The statement on the meeting underscored: “Pakistan enjoyed close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries and attached great importance to their security.”
Although there are clear indications about Pakistan joining the Saudi-led military alliance, the government because of its implications has been cautious in announcing it.
Conscious of the fact that participation in the conflict could exacerbate sectarian tensions, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam was quick to clarify that there was no evidence to suggest that Houthis were backed by Iran.
“I have not seen anything that Iran is backing the rebels,” she told journalists at the weekly media briefing.
Meanwhile, an official of the Pakistani embassy in Sanaa disclosed that the embassy had advised the government to remain in contact with all sides of the dispute, including Houthi militia.
There is some 3000-strong Pakistan community in Yemen and the embassy fears that taking sides in the conflict could affect their safety and security in the strife-torn country.
The FO spokesperson said: “The community was already cautioned about the possibility of the situation being deteriorating and advised to evacuate. The embassy has also been alerted. Since they are on the ground, they have to give their assessment of the situation. If the assessment is that situation has reached a stage where they need to be evacuated then they will be evacuated.”