Pakistan calls for independent Palestinian state with 'Al-Quds Al-Sharif' as its capital

The photograph shows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Islamabad on Jan. 22, 2020. (AN photo)
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Updated 30 January 2020

Pakistan calls for independent Palestinian state with 'Al-Quds Al-Sharif' as its capital

  • Islamabad supports the establishment of Palestinian state with pre-1967 war borders
  • Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday, in response to the announcement of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

“Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution, as enshrined in the relevant Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions,” the Foreign Office said in a statement and renewed a call for the establishment of a “viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

On Tuesday, President Trump unveiled the peace plan that broadly favored Israel. In accordance with it, Jerusalem would remain Israel’s capital while Palestine’s capital would include areas of East Jerusalem. 

On the same day, Trump’s announcement was rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Senior Pakistani diplomat Javed Hafeez told Arab News that while under the US plan the Palestinians would be allowed to have their capital in East Jerusalem, “that area would remain under Israeli control,” which is “a contradiction.”

He said that the motive behind the announcement was to “garner more votes for President Trump and to bail out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his troubles.”

“There is a huge trust gap between Palestinians and Israel. To me, the chances of its success are minimum,” Hafeez said.

Foreign affairs expert and former Pakistani diplomat, Rustam Shah Mohmand, said “the plan may help President Trump politically in an election year, but it offers very little to Palestinians and so much to Israel.”

“It confers legitimacy on Israeli annexation and on illegal settlements. Settlements are clearly in violation of international law. The plan would not work. It will make the conflict even worse,” he said.

Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and has repeatedly supported the UN resolutions regarding Palestine.


Pakistan seals Taftan border after coronavirus kills eight in Iran

Updated 13 min 57 sec ago

Pakistan seals Taftan border after coronavirus kills eight in Iran

  • Balochistan’s government declares health emergency in all bordering districts
  • No flights to and from Iran have been halted, says CAA 

KARACHI: Pakistan has sealed Taftan border and stopped pilgrims from traveling via the crossing to Iran after eight coronavirus deaths were reported from the neighboring country, officials told Arab News on Sunday.

Iranian health authorities have said that 43 people were being treated for the virus -- which was first detected in Wuhan, China -- in at least four different cities, including the capital, Tehran. 
There are several shrines in Iran that are frequented by a large number of Shiite Muslims from Pakistan. Hundreds of people access the Taftan border crossing between the countries on a daily basis. 

Screening underway at the Taftan Pakistan Iran border after coronavirus kills six in Iran. Pakistan on Saturday declared a health emergency along its border with Iran. (AN Photo)

Pakistan has stopped all movement from crossing points, launched screening procedures and introduced additional patrolling along the border “until the situation is under control,” Mir Zia Ullah Langove, Home Minister of southwestern Balochistan province told Arab News on Sunday. 
“We are trying to take every possible precaution,” the home minister said, adding that these were efforts being taken by the provincial government, with assurance from Prime Minister Imran Khan that the federal government would be extending help as well.

Screening underway at the Taftan Pakistan Iran border after coronavirus kills six in Iran. Pakistan on Saturday declared a health emergency along its border with Iran. (AN Photo)

The move to seal the border follows Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan’s decision on Saturday to declare a health emergency in all provincial districts bordering Iran.
However, flights to and from Iran have not been suspended.
“The staff of health ministry is already present at the airports and a passenger is allowed entry only after clearance of health declaration,” Abdul Sattar Khokhar, spokesperson Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan (CAAP) told Arab News, dismissing reports of a temporary halt on flights to Iran.
“There is no reality in reports that flight operations to Iran have been stopped. We had neither stopped flight operations to and from China and nor will it be stopped to any other country,” the official said.
Imran Zarkon, chief of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told Arab News that as part of emergency preventative efforts, 1,000 masks had been distributed in the border areas, while a temporary hospital tent with 100-beds had been set up in case of an emergency. 
“Qom is the most affected area of Iran where the pilgrims go, so if there is any possibility of the virus coming to Pakistan it will be through Taftan and authorities here are on high alert,” he added.
However, this has failed to provide much consolation to the people of Balochistan, with some concerned about the illegal movement along the porous border.
“Iran shares over #1000 KM long porous border with #Balochistan #Pakistan, #coronaravirus deaths are alarming news for the region. Daily 100s of people cross these borders without formal procedures, region is poverty-stricken with no medical facility,” Sanallah Baloch, a Balochistan lawmaker tweeted on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in a statement released on Sunday, Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Noorul Haq Qadri, said that he had discussed the matter with Iranian officials to safeguard Pakistani nationals visiting the country.
Qadri also spoke to Dr. Zafar Mirza, State Minister for Health, on the deployment of medical teams to the Taftan town along the border.