ISLAMABAD: The head of National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Awais Leghari on Wednesday reiterated Pakistan’s consistent support to the Palestinian cause at all forums.
In his address to delegates from 80 countries attending a Conference on Palestinian Intifada in Iran, he said that UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016 criticising the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank also augurs well for the Palestinian cause and that Pakistan is opposed to the proposed relocation of the US embassy by the US administration to an occupied territory.
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Pakistan has strongly raised its voice on this issue in the UN Security Council stating that the move is clearly against the UN Charter as well as the internationally recognised principles for the resolution of the Palestine issue.
Leghari added that the growing realisation about this issue was due to the sacrifices rendered by Palestinian people and the courage of their leadership to face Israeli excesses but be resilient.
Drawing similarity to this situation with that of Kashmir, he said, “Like Palestine, the Kashmir issue is one of the oldest unresolved issues on the UN agenda.”
The people of Kashmir continue to suffer atrocities at the hands of Indian forces. Both issues need to be jointly highlighted as unresolved issues of the ‘Muslim Ummah’, he said.
In his address, Leghari said that India has been trying to propagate narratives on Kashmir with a desire to confuse the international community on this core issue of discord in South Asian region.
However, he said, “We will continue to highlight the Indian ‘game’ in the Middle East wherein they have strategic relations with Israel, including defence collaborations, while at the same time fostering close relations with Arab States and Palestine.”
Leghari concluded his address stating that peaceful and meaningful solution to the issues of Palestine and Kashmir can only be brought about if we all unite to confront the reality on ground and raise a coherent and firm voice in the corridors of world councils that can be translated into a plan of action and implementation.
Later, in a meeting with chairman of Iran’s parliament Ali Larijani, he said Islamabad would not accept the negative role of New Delhi in the region which was making attempts to derail the ‘one belt, one road’ initiative.
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Leghari apprised Larijani of the big opportunity for Iran to use the potential of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and to further cooperation between the ports of Chahbahar and Gwadar.
Speaker Ali Larijani expressed concern over the security situation in the region especially Israel teaming up with the United States to form a coalition against some Muslim countries.
He also expressed concern over Israel’s normalisation of relations with some Arab states to which Leghari responded that Pakistan is a responsible state which always wanted to play a role between Iran and the Gulf countries.
“Pakistan’s desire is to stay out of conflicts in the region which could further pull apart countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Leghari added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2017.