ANKARA (Reuters) - Pakistan is concerned by the overthrow of Yemen’s government and will stand by Saudi Arabia as it leads a campaign against Houthi rebels there, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday.
Sharif called on Thursday for a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament to consider whether to join the Saudi-led military coalition, which has launched days of air strikes to try to stem the advance of the Iran-allied Houthi fighters.
“We are concerned at the overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by use of force by non-state actors,” Sharif told a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, where he is on an official visit.
“We have agreed to extend all possible support in the defence of Saudi Arabia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Largely Sunni Muslim Pakistan is a regional ally of Saudi Arabia. Pakistan also shares a long border with Iran, considered to be the centre of Shi‘ite power and Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival.
The Houthis and their allies seized a central district of the southern city of Aden on Thursday, the last major holdout of fighters loyal to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. They took over the capital Sanaa six months ago.
Additional reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by David Dolan and Ruth Pitchford