ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has directed the concerned authorities to take steps for immediate evacuation of Pakistani families stranded in Yemen.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said steps must be taken on war footings for ensuring their safety and evacuation.

Earlier on Friday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told parliament that Pakistan is ready to defend Saudi Arabia`s “territorial integrity” but not to escalate any conflict.

He said Pakistan was not prepared to take part in any conflict that would divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines.
The announcement appears to rule out any immediate Pakistani participation in the fighting, which has so far been confined to Yemen itself.

Saudi Arabia has begun air strikes in Yemen to defend the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi from advancing Huthi rebels.

Its ambassador in Washington said Thursday it had assembled a coalition of 10 countries, including Pakistan and five Gulf monarchies, formed to protect the Yemeni government.

But Pakistan, a longstanding ally of Riyadh, says it has not yet decided whether to join the operation, which has seen Yemeni capital Sanaa rocked by powerful explosions.