FO: (Pakistan examining Saudi request to join operation in Yemen: FO)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said that it was examining Saudi Arabia’s request to join the Gulf-led operation against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told reporters at the weekly media briefing here 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. She said Pakistani mission in Yemen has been placed on alert and has been asked to keep in touch with the Pakistan community residing there.

She said that Pakistani community has been asked to be ready for possible evacuation. She said that no decision has been made by Islamabad with regard to closing its mission in Sanaa.

According to diplomatic sources, a top Saudi functionary has contacted the top leadership of Pakistan over telephone and sought Pakistan’s cooperation in the offensive launched in Yemen. According to media reports, Pakistani authorities have given a hint of cooperation to Sadi Arabia, however they told the Saudis that a final decision will be take after consulting the military. Pakistan permanent mission to UN is also being briefed on this latest crisis.

Saudi Arabia and Gulf region allies launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen on Thursday to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden, where the US-supported Yemeni president had taken refuge.

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