(Reuters) – Pakistan will send troops to Saudi Arabia to join the coalition fighting Yemeni Houthi rebels, a senior government official said on Monday, joining several Gulf states, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco.
Largely Sunni Muslim Pakistan – a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s main Sunni Muslim power – would join a Saudi-led military coalition conducting air strikes against Shi’ite Houthi forces.
The air strikes are targeting the rebels’ southward advance on the port city of Aden, the last bastion of Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan shares a long border with Iran, considered to be the centre of Shi’ite power, and has a warm relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival. An estimated 20 percent of Pakistanis are Shi’ite.
“We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the Pakistani official said.