Friday April 19, 2024

Photo shows Pak flag among Saudi-led coalition states

FO denies Pakistan being part of offensive against Houthis

By our correspondents
April 02, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Do the photographs speak louder than words, especially in the case of whether Pakistan is a part or not a part of the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which is fighting the Houthi militia inside Yemen?
The unmistakable green and white Pakistan flag is clearly visible together with other coalition flags in a photograph that is making the rounds on the social media, which has been officially released by Saudi Brig Gen Ahmed Asiri, the military spokesman for the Saudi-led Operation ‘Decisive Storm’. In the photograph which also shows Asiri, at a news briefing, there are 11 flags displayed behind him, including that of Saudi Arabia.
He was quoted on Sunday by the Saudi Press Agency as saying that there would be no safe haven for the Houthi militias in Yemen as the coalition’s air power targeted it for a fourth day and “work is under way to destroy the remaining ballistic missiles particularly the mobile ones”.
Pakistan has all along maintained at the highest level that it has not joined the military coalition which is fighting inside Yemen nor that it has sent any military personnel to participate in any operation against Yemen.
Any decision would be taken after the high-level delegation on its return to Pakistan updates the Pakistani civil and military leadership about their deliberations in Saudi Arabia and the proposals and demands. So why is Pakistan’s flag amongst other national flags, which have publicly announced their support to Operation Decisive Storm?
When contacted about Pakistan’s flag along with 10 others at the Asiri’s press conference, the spokesperson at the Foreign Office told ‘The News,’ “I cannot speak for the government of Saudi Arabia. It is for them to comment on Pakistan’s flag amongst others at the press conference. Our views are very clear as have been articulated time and again and most recently by the PM himself”.
She was pointing to a statement from the prime minister’s office which said, “Pakistan remains firmly committed to supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, while also emphasising that Pakistan stands committed to playing a meaningful role in arresting the deteriorating situation in the Middle East”.
She said that CNN had apologised to Pakistan for its report that Pakistani fighter jets had taken part in fighting inside Yemen. Some of the names being quoted from Saudi media and western news agencies, countries which are part of Operation Decisive Storm, include Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan, Morocco, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.