Pakistan demands UN action against Houthis for Makkah attack

In this file photo taken on April 7, 2015, Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (R) addresses the joint session of parliament in Islamabad. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2016

Pakistan demands UN action against Houthis for Makkah attack

RIYADH: Pakistan has strongly condemned the launching of ballistic missile toward the holy city of Makkah.
The Pakistani Senate called on the OIC and the UN Security Council to take notice of flouting the sanctity of religious holy places which amounts to encroachment upon the religious sanctity of over a billion Muslims.
The ballistic missile launched by the Houthi militias targeting Makkah on Oct.27 evoked widespread condemnation from key world leaders, foreign ambassadors in Riyadh and prominent organizations.
The missile was intercepted by Saudi ground forces and downed 65 km from the holy city.
Pakistani Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq confirmed the decision made by Pakistan’s Senate, which unanimously condemned the launch of the ballistic missile. The upper house of the legislature unanimously adopted a draft resolution submitted by the head of the ruling party in the chamber, Raja Zafarul Haq.
The resolution demanded the UN Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation take strict action against those responsible for the attempted attack on the most sacred spot for a billion Muslims around the world, which hurt the feelings of the people of Pakistan and the Islamic nation as a whole.
The resolution stressed that Pakistan lends its full support for the Kingdom in the defense of the sanctity of the holy places, which is the hub of the Islamic nation.
Ambassador Haq in an earlier statement said: “The news of a missile attack targeting the holy city is shocking for every Muslim. We strongly condemn any attack against Makkah or any other part of the Kingdom.”
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a deep and longstanding bond based on their common faith and geopolitical interests. A large number of Pakistanis work in the Kingdom.
For the second time in 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid an official visit to Riyadh in March. He took part in the closing ceremony of the Northern Thunder military exercise in the Saudi desert. It was also the second time that the prime minister was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif on a trip to the Kingdom.
Military contacts between Islamabad and Riyadh have been maintained for several decades. The first bilateral agreements were signed back in the 1960’s. In the 1980’s, two teams of Pakistani ground troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 13 min 12 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.