Pakistan

Pakistan to defend Saudi sovereignty at any cost: Asif

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday pledged that Pakistan will defend sovereignty and integrity of Saudi Arabia at any cost, ARY News reported.

Addressing the joint parliament session today, Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Pakistan has close ties with Saudi Arabia  and it will remain a sincere and committed friend to the country.

Reading the policy statement, Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan wants peaceful solution of the Yemen crisis through political and diplomatic means.

However, he clarified that Pakistan will strongly react against any threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia and will be on the side of the country.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in close liaison with the neighbouring countries and has also visited Turkey in this regard and will also visit other regional countries for more consultations”, informed Defence Minister.

The Minister also informed that Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to contribute aircraft, ships and ground troops to its coalition fighting rebels in Yemen.

Despite close and longstanding relations with Riyadh, Pakistan has so far held back from joining the fight, calling for a negotiated settlement and saying it does not want to get involved in any conflict that would inflame sectarian tensions.

Asif was part of a high-level political and military delegation that visited Saudi Arabia last week to assess the situation.

Speaking at joint parliamentary session, Asif told that “Saudi Arabia has requested us for aircraft, naval vessels and ground troops.”

The Minister said Pakistan is the only country today, which is fighting the terrorists head on. He said that Pakistan have sacrificed much to ensure global peace, but no one came to our help in this war.

Elaborating government’s efforts over evacuation of stranded Pakistanis in Yemen, Khawaja Asif thanked Saudi Arabia, China and other countries for extending their support for safe evacuation of Pakistani nationals.

Khawaja Asif further told that Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif is likely to visit Pakistan on April 8, to discuss the Yemen conflict.

Speaker of National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq adjourned the session till 5 P.M. today.

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