Islamabad - Islamabad on Thursday made it clear that Pakistan’s national interest will remain the guiding principle of its foreign policy and consultations between Pakistan and Saudi authorities are continuing and both sides will stay engaged on Yemen crisis.

“The matter has been referred to our parliament to decide about sending troops to Saudi Arabia on Saudi-Yemen crisis,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told weekly media briefing.

When asked as to why Pakistan has not sent a high level delegation to Iran akin to the one it had sent to Saudi Arabia, Tasnim said there was no need of engaging Tehran in matter that was between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

She rejected the notion by saying big ‘No’ when a reporter pointed out that the statement issued by Prime Minister’s House about high level meeting earlier was perhaps a message targeted towards Iran.

“No, the message is not targeted towards Iran. How does Iran come into it? Is this your interpretation of the situation between Saudi Arabia and Iran? This is not our assessment. The situation in Yemen is complicated. There is a history,” the spokesperson asserted.

She elaborated that Islamabad and Tehran remain engaged on routine bilateral issues.

Answering another question the spokesperson confirmed that Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif will be visiting the Republic of Turkey today (Friday) , adding that  was agreed during the Prime Minister’s telephonic conversation with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 31.

She said given the excellent relations between Pakistan and Turkey and the personal rapport between the leadership of the two countries, the prime minister and the president of Turkey will exchange views on the situation relating to Yemen. They will also discuss how the two countries can be helpful in addressing the issue.

However, she did not confirm dates of visits’ of Chinese, Sri Lankan presidents and foreign minister of Iran to Pakistan. According to media reports, Iranian foreign minister is expected to visit Pakistan on April 8.

Answering a question regarding Pakistan’s support to Saudi Arabia, she said not a single political party of the country is of the opinion that protection of Saudi Arabia or holy places is not Pakistan’s responsibility.

She said Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. She said Pakistan condemns all non-state actors to overthrow a legitimate government of Yemen. Pakistan also calls upon the warring groups in Yemen to move towards dialogue.

Giving updates about the on-going evacuation operation to bring Pakistanis back to the country, the spokesperson said that 186 stranded Pakistanis embarked to Djibouti through Chinese ship earlier today.

She said these Pakistanis will be brought back to Pakistan through special flight of Pakistan International Airlines. She said Pakistan’s embassy in Ethiopia will take care of the immigration, transit, transport and other necessary arrangements of these Pakistanis.

The spokesperson said in Al-Mukallah, Pakistan’s ship had already arrived. However, due to overnight skirmishes, evacuation of 175 Pakistanis already present on the port could not be started. She said as soon as they are cleared by the military authorities of the port, these stranded Pakistanis would be directly brought back to Karachi.

About Yemeni capital Sana’a, Tasnim said around 145 Pakistanis have assembled there and are in constant contact of Foreign Office’s crisis management cell.

Tasnim said government takes Pakistanis’ security very seriously and hope that all stranded Pakistanis will safely reach back their homes.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has strongly condemned the suicide attack in Khost province of Afghanistan early Thursday in which a number of innocent civilians lost their lives and many were injured. Foreign Office spokesperson in a statement said such deplorable and indiscriminate attacks against civilians cannot be justified under any circumstances. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go to the families of the victims, the spokesperson added.  We also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan condemns terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.