ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has still not decided to send troops to Yemen to participate in the conflict brewing in the Middle East, though it pledged to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia, the government clarified on Friday.

"Keeping in view the historic perspectives, Pakistan will not take any decision which may produce adverse results in future. This is for sure, we have still not decided to become part of this war," said Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif giving a policy statement in the National Assembly.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level meeting here Thursday evening to discuss the threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), following Riyadh’s request that it join a coalition to defend Yemen’s president against Shia Houthi rebels. The meeting participated by top civilian and military leadership promised a “strong response” if Yemen war spills over into Saudi Arabia and announced dispatching a top civil-military delegation to KSA to assess the situation.

Defence Minister Kh Asif was to be part of the group along with the military high command which was to leave for KSA on Friday. But perhaps the visit has been postponed in face of strong reaction to the government’s apparent unannounced decision to join the coalition of over 10 states to crush the Houthi rebellion.

The government, Kh Asif said, will definitely take parliament into confidence if decision was made to send troops to Yemen. "We will wait for some days as Arab League has taken up this matter," he said, expressing hope that the regional organisation of Arab states would resolve this matter.

"They have also forum of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) to deliberate this important matter and we (government) would see what happens in a couple of days. If we have to visit (KSA or any other state of the region), we will go," the defence minister said, reiterating that Pakistan would defend territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia at any cost as a brother country.

The minister said Pakistan will not fan the fire as situation demands solidarity. "Muslim Ummah is already in a difficult situation and we understand the involvement in a conflict might aggravate (sectarian) fault-lines in our country (too)," he said, citing the examples of Iraq, Yemen and other countries of the region.

Kh Asif said the government is keeping in mind the ongoing crisis (caused by religious and sectarian militancy) in the country as well as the country's relations with Saudi Arabia. "No decision was made, I assure the house. This decision will be made after taking parliament into confidence," he added.

Taking the floor, Opposition Leader in NA Syed Khursheed Shah also prayed that Arab League may succeed in resolving this matter amicably. "In case of any danger to Saudi Arabia, no country would sit silent," Shah however said. Before the clarification of the defence minister, Shah raised serious concern for not taking the house into confidence on the important matter of sending troops to Yemen.

"Pakistan needs to play a pivotal role for spreading peace in the Islamic countries, and there was a need to make visits to different countries for this purpose," he said, cautioning that Pakistan's participation in this war could be dangerous for its own. "Such decision should be made in the parliament as it is a foreign policy related matter," he added.

He said that Pakistan should also think about the repercussions of this war. "World powers want to make us a weak country... We need to become a strong country with our decisions and deeds," he said and appealed to summon a joint session of the parliament over the issue. Pakistan should not participate in this war as already the country is in a state of war and the military is carrying out operation 'Zarb-e-Azab', he added.

"We are with Nawaz Sharif if he intends to go for world peace. (But) Pakistan and the Pakistani nation will be ruined if we take part in the Yemen war," the opposition leader viewed. He said that the opposition has been supporting the government in difficult times. "If the incumbent government does not take the opposition into confidence, it will lead to mistrust in future," he said.