Pak team reaches ‘holy land’

  • Pakistani delegation arrives in Saudia for talks over Yemen crisis as PM Sharif calls for safe evacuation of stranded Pakistanis in Yemen


As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif continued to show concern over the security of the “holy land”, a high-level Pakistani delegation, led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, reached Riyadh on Tuesday for talks over the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

The delegation was received by Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and Ambassador Manzoor ul Haq, a spokesman for the Pakistan embassy in Riyadh said.

Senior officials from the foreign office (FO) and three armed forces personnel were also part of the delegation that departed Islamabad for Riyadh through a special aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif sought guidance from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before departure to the Saudi capital and held a brief meeting with members of his delegation at Chaklala Airbase.

“Yes, the delegation headed by the defence minister is scheduled to depart for Saudi Arabia,” FO spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told reporters.

The Pakistani delegation will meet Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and the Saudi defence minister in Riyadh besides meeting other high-ranking Saudi officials for discussion over the crisis in Yemen.

The delegation is also expected to meet the leadership of Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss the possibility of enabling a truce in Yemen.


In the meanwhile, PM Sharif chaired a high-level meeting at the Prime Minister’s House Tuesday morning and sought update on the status of Pakistanis still stranded in Yemen. He directed the authorities to take all possible measures for safe evacuation of stranded countrymen.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Advisor to PM on National Security Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi and foreign affairs secretary among other senior officers.

The prime minister was pleased to note that the first phase of evacuation was completed in a satisfactory manner. He was informed that Pakistanis returning from Yemen are highly appreciative of the personal interest taken by the PM in ensuring their safe exit from the disturbed areas.

The meeting reiterated that Pakistan holds Saudi Arabia in very high esteem and considers the security of the “holy land” of “utmost importance” adding that any violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Saudi Arabia would evoke a strong reaction from Pakistan, according to the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.