ISLAMABAD, March 27 (Reuters) - Pakistan has made no decision on whether to give military support to a Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday, while pledging to defend Saudi Arabia against any threat to its solidarity.
“We have made no decision to participate in this war. We didnt make any promise. We have not promised any military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” he told parliament.
“In Syria, Yemen and Iraq, division is being fuelled and it needs to be contained. The crisis has its fault lines in Pakistan too, (we) don’t want to disturb them.”
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden for Saudi Arabia on Thursday as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of the southern port city.
Throughout the day, warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at the Shi’ite Houthis and allied army units, who have taken over much of the country and seek to oust Hadi.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said on Thursday any threat to Saudi Arabia would “evoke a strong response” from Islamabad and the foreign office said Pakistan was considering a request from Saudi Arabia for troops to be sent to Yemen.
Pakistan has been plagued with sectarian violence for years, with militant Sunni Muslim groups targetting its Shi’ite minority. (Reporting by Amjad Ali; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Simon Cameron-Moore)