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May 17, 2021

PM discusses Palestine situation with Mahathir

May 17, 2021


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad exchanged views on the grave situation in Palestine on Sunday.

Imran Khan received a telephone call from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, says a Prime Minister Office statement.

Imran khan and Dr Mahathir exchanged views on the grave situation in Palestine and they condemned the Israeli aggression and expressed solidarity with the innocent and defenceless Palestinians. The prime minister strongly condemned the attacks on innocent worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and air strikes on Gaza.

The two leaders underscored the need for the international community to take urgent steps to halt the ongoing attacks, protect civilians and facilitate a just and lasting solution based on UN resolutions and two-state vision. The two leaders greeted each other on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Fitr.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while reaffirming Pakistan’s abiding support for the Palestinians called for their immediate protection against Israeli aggression, implementation of United Nations resolutions and an accountability of Israel’s crimes against humanity.

Addressing the virtual open-ended emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) executive committee to discuss Israel’s aggression against Palestine, the minister stressed that all necessary steps must be taken for stopping the ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and their properties. He said the international community must protect the Palestinians against the blatant and illegal use of force and flagrant violations of human rights.

“It should urgently intervene and take concerted actions to stop Israeli atrocities against civilian population in Gaza,” he said, adding, “The bombardment in Gaza must be stopped immediately.”

Qureshi also underlined that implementing forthwith resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council was both critical and urgent. He said Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability. He said there should be no impunity for Israel’s violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva and the other various human rights conventions.

“Attempts to create a false equivalence between Israel, the aggressor, and Palestinians, the victims, are inexcusable and as the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah the OIC should work in unity to dispel this deliberately deceptive perception,” said the minister.

Attempts to silence media and reporting, through tyranny, the foreign minister said, was evident from Israel’s horrifying air strike Saturday, bringing down a high rise building in Gaza that housed media outlets was unacceptable. The minister said Pakistan was appalled by the sheer magnitude of illegal, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, tyranny and injustice being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against defenceless Palestinians.

Qureshi said there are no words strong enough to condemn the systematic and barbaric crimes against the Palestinians. He said the deteriorating conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to the illegal practices of Israel, its colonial policies, and its continued aggression, siege and collective punishment, are sickening. He said the indiscriminate use of force by Israeli forces against defenceless Palestinians tantamount to grave violations of principles underpinned in international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law.

“The latest spate of Israeli aggression cannot be justified or condoned,” he stressed.

At this sombre juncture, the minister said, Pakistan reaffirms its unflinching solidarity with the government and people of Palestine - valiantly defending their legitimate rights. “We salute their courage in the face of unabated Israeli atrocities and preserving their Arab and Islamic identity,” he added.

Qureshi said that Pakistan condemned in the strongest possible terms the continuing air strikes by Israel in Gaza that had resulted in deaths and injuries to so many innocent Palestinians. Pakistan also condemned, in the strongest possible terms, he said, attacks on innocent worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating the very sanctity of Qibla-e-Awal.

“Death and destruction in the holy month of Ramazan; during Eidul Fitr is unacceptable. Endless, senseless violence must end,” he said.

The minister said the respect for sanctity of religious places was well-established in international law. In this regard, Pakistan played a key role during its non-permanent term in the Security Council in 1968-69. In addition to adopting Pakistan-initiated resolutions 252 and 267, the Security Council also adopted resolution 271 (5 September 1969), also initiated by Pakistan, following the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque on 5 August 1969.

“We are also gravely concerned at the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and expulsion of Palestinians from their properties,” he maintained.

The minister said the tragedy of forced evictions of Palestinians from the Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Al-Quds Al-Shareef was the latest manifestation of the systematic Israeli effort to change the demographic structure; historical and legal status; and Arab-Islamic and Christian character of Al-Quds Al-Shareef.

“This is patently illegal, immoral and unacceptable,” he said.

The minister said the OIC owed its genesis to the Palestinian issue. “In this hour of need, the Muslim Ummah must exhibit strong solidarity and support for their Palestinian brothers and sisters,” he said.

“In the absence of such a solution, any notion of human dignity would remain tainted, regional peace elusive, and international security imperilled,” he said.

“We must not fail the Palestinian people at this critical juncture,” he stressed.

“As a member of the Executive Committee and the next chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Pakistan remained ready to join hands with other OIC member states in any move to stop the ongoing bloodshed, and restore human dignity and human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories,” he said.

Meanwhile, Qureshi spoke with US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and discussed bilateral relations and important regional developments, particularly deteriorating situation in Palestine.

The minister informed Secretary Blinken of Pakistani people’s deep concern and anguish on the worsening humanitarian situation in the Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territories. He also underscored the importance of US role in ensuring necessary steps to help address the dire situation, restore peace, and facilitate a just solution.

Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s desire for a broad-based and comprehensive partnership with the United States that was anchored in close economic cooperation, enhanced regional connectivity and common vision for a peaceful South Asia.