Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said Pakistan played a leading role in efforts to end Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, who had braved unabated bombardment from occupation forces for over two weeks.
He was interacting with foreign media here on the occasion of Palestine Solidarity Day observed across the country on the call of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Pakistan took a firm stand, mustered support of friendly countries and represented the Muslim Ummah’s true sentiments over the Palestinians’ plight at the special session of United Nations General Assembly in an effective manner,” the minister said.
Fawad was of the view that efforts yielded the required results as a ceasefire had been reached between Hamas and Israel, terming it a “success” of Pakistan and its friendly countries’ efforts to mitigate the sufferings of Palestinians.
He added that Pakistan’s response to the Israeli aggression was “unequivocal,” as it instantly reached out to the international community urging them to play a “constructive role” in stopping the killings of Palestinians.
Sharing some efforts of the government in defusing the tension, he said PM Imran had met the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and made telephonic contacts with the Saudi king, Palestinian and Turkish presidents.
Besides, he added, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reached out to his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Afghanistan, China, United States, and Sudan, and discussed the situation in Palestine.
Fawad said FM Qureshi participated in the Emergency Meeting of the OIC’s Foreign Ministers and presented the case for Palestine, issuing a strong statement condemning Israeli cruelties against the Palestinians.
The information minister said Pakistan’s National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution against Israel’s actions, supporting the cause of Palestine and the struggle of its people. “The Israeli aggression against Palestinians and the sacrilege of Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest places in the world, especially during Ramazan, is highly condemnable.”
Fawad deplored that the indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupation forces resulted in the martyrdom of Palestinians, including women and children, in Gaza and the West Bank.
“Such attacks are against all humanitarian norms, human rights, and international laws,” he said, “We strongly denounce the systematic and brutal disenfranchisement, exclusion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.”
He added: “We reject the continuing practice of expanding settlements through forced evictions (of Palestinians) by the apartheid regime, which are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.”
The minister recalled relevant resolutions introduced by Pakistan in the UN regarding Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially the seminal UNSC Resolution 271, which was adopted after the incident of the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969.
He reiterated Pakistan’s support for the Palestinian cause and reaffirmed unwavering political, diplomatic, and moral support to the “brave and resilient” Palestinian people. He also called for solidarity among the Muslim Ummah to support the efforts to resolve the Palestine dispute in accordance with the relevant UN and OIC resolutions.
“Pakistan wanted withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, restitution of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people such as their right to self-determination, right of return to Palestine, and establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, with pre-1967 borders and Al- Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” Fawad added.
To a query, the information minister said the foundation of Pakistan’s policy regarding Palestine was laid by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and now PM Imran Khan was its custodian. “Pakistan’s relevant departments are in contact with the Palestinian Embassy to extend Covid-related and emergency medical assistance to Palestine,” he said.
To another question regarding FM Qureshi’s remarks, he said: “Suggesting that deep pockets influence media cannot be termed anti-Semitic.”
To another query, Fawad said that “some influential and wealthy lobbyists” lacked interest in resolving the issues of Palestine and Kashmir, and were creating hurdles in their early settlement.
“Pakistan never took dictation from any country in its internal and international matters as it always takes decisions independently, keeping the national interest supreme.”
He also spoke about ties to India. Fawad said that Pakistan wanted peace with India, and was ready to talk and initiate a trade with it, but India would have to revert back to the position of the 5th August 2019 as “we cannot move forward by ignoring the situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”