Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said Pakistan highly condemns the ongoing attacks by Israel’s military forces on the people of Palestine during which at least 20 Palestinians have died and several others injured.
During a press conference in Islamabad, the FM said that attack on worshipers at Al-Aqsa mosque was against any norm and Pakistan completely agrees with the Palestinian point of view.
The Israeli military has pounded Gaza with airstrikes through the early hours of Tuesday, in a dramatic escalation of clashes in Jerusalem. Nine children were among the 20 dead in Gaza and scores of rockets were launched into Israel, many that were intercepted by missile defences.
FM Qureshi said his Turkish counterpart shared that he would be calling an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the matter.
“He also shared with me that an emergency session of the United Nation on the matter was also under consideration,” the FM said adding that it required a consensus.
He added that this forceful eviction and aggression from Israeli forces needed to immediately halt whereas the international community also needed to mobilise on a priority basis.
“If the international community is worried about that Hamas fired rockets then they would also be worried about the rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas fired upon the worshipers,” Qureshi added asking under which law such force was used.
Talking about Prime Minister Imran Khan's three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the FM said that it was ‘extraordinary’.
“All the meetings had unprecedented fervour about our relations,” the FM said. “This shows that our relations are extraordinary. Both countries understand the depth it has and it is the necessity of both countries to take it forward.”
Talking about the MoUs signed between the two countries, the foreign minister said that a structured mechanism to enhance the bilateral ties had been put in place.
Qureshi added that the security, politics, economics, culture and promotion of soft image, had been decided as the pillars (talking points) whereas who would lead the discussions on them had also been decided.
Mentioning one of the MoUs, the FM said that Saudi Arabia would provide $500 million to Pakistan from the Saudi Development Fund to be used for the development of infrastructure, water resources, and hydropower projects in Pakistan.
He further said that a Saudi delegation would visit the country after Eid to discuss matters pertaining to the visit of the Saudi crown prince and the foreign minister to Pakistan.
Talking about the Afghan peace process, Qureshi said Director General of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed appraised him about Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to Afghanistan and the meeting with President Ashraf Ghani.
“Pakistan wants to reassure that we would facilitate them in the peace process,” he said adding that DG ISI took him into confidence that the meeting was a ‘good way forward on the peace process.’
The FM reiterated that Pakistan had decided not to intervene in Afghanistan's internal matters adding that peace in Afghanistan would benefit the entire region.
The foreign minister also said that the seizure of uranium in India was worrisome and stressed that media needed to play an important role to highlight the issue as well.
He added that the foreign office’s statement alone was not enough.
“Seven kilograms of uranium were found in India but it was not highlighted in media,” the FM lamented. “If such thing had happened in Pakistan, the Indian media would have taken us to town by now.”
Talking about IIOJK, the FM said that the Modi-led government's Kashmir policy was being criticized from within India.
“A large section in India considers the BJP government's Kashmir policy a failure. The prime minister has previously said Pakistan would take two steps forward towards peace if India takes one,” he said.
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