ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for Turkey on Monday night from where he will fly to New York to attend and address an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on worsening Israeli attacks on Palestine, Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the United States once more prevented the United Nations Security Council from issuing a public statement on the Israeli assault as the White House said it was pursuing “quiet, intensive diplomacy.”
For the past week Washington, a strong ally of Israel, has been isolated on the 15-member council over its objection to a public statement by the Security Council on the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians in years because it worries it could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
The death toll in Gaza jumped to 188 overnight, including 55 children, amid an intensive Israeli air and artillery barrage since the fighting erupted last Monday. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, in thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups.
“On the special instructions of PM Imran Khan, the FM Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi will speak at @UN General Assembly #UNGA debate on “The situation in the Middle East” & the “Question of Palestine” on 20 May 2021,” Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN said in a Twitter post.
“The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will hold meetings with various dignitaries in NewYork. He will hold talks with local & int’l media representatives & present Pakistan’s views on the situation in #Palestine.”
In a Twitter post, Qureshi said:
“Pakistan joins hands with Palestine, Sudan and Turkey to address an emergency session on #Palestine called by the United Nations General Assembly. Pakistan stands firmly with the people of Palestine.”
Pakistan’s lower house of parliament on Monday passed a unanimous resolution against what Qureshi called the ‘unconscionable brutality’ of Israel against Palestinians.
“Today in Parliament proud to present a resolution, unanimously adopted, in support of #Palestine, condemning Israeli’s unconscionable brutality & reaffirming Pakistan support for a two-state solution,” Qureshi said in a tweet.
The country’s National Assembly suspended its routine agenda to discuss ongoing Israeli airstrikes in which over 200 Palestinians have died so far.
The lower house passed a resolution calling upon the United Nations Security Council to ensure Israel immediately stopped ongoing crimes against Palestinians and halted its aggressions, which it said had violated the sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for more than 1.5 billion Muslims.
The parliamentary resolution called upon the UN Secretary General to “establish an independent inquiry tribunal to investigate the crime of genocide by the apartheid Israeli regime against the Palestinian people.”
The parliament also urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take “immediate decisive steps” for the protection and safety of the Palestinian people and break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza in order to provide humanitarian assistance.
Presenting the resolution in the National Assembly, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan had demanded total withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territories and would urge the UN General Assembly to convene an urgent session on the ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinians.
Pakistan’s permanent mission to the United Nations has also called on the UN Security council to hold Israel accountable for “war crimes” and condemned its use of “indiscriminate force” against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Pakistani mission urged the UN Security Council to call Israel for an immediate halt to the use of arbitrary force, offer protections to civilians and ensure full compliance with international and human rights laws.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the ambassador of Palestine, Ahmed Jawad A.A. Rabaei, on Monday and condemned “continuous and indiscriminate” attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinians.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi strongly condemned violence by the Israeli Forces against innocent worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement. “While conveying his deepest sorrow and condolences for the innocent victims of lethal attacks by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza and the West Bank, he categorically condemned IDF’s continuous and indiscriminate attacks that had resulted in martyrdom of more than 140 Palestinians, including 39 children and 22 women, and injured more than 1,000.”
Ambassador Rabaei expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s “unwavering support and steadfast policy” on Palestine and “appreciated Pakistan’s continuous efforts to engage the international community for protecting Palestine.”
Over 1,000 protesters gathered outside the Islamabad Press Club on Monday in a show of solidarity with Palestine. The demonstration was organized by the Awami Workers Party (AWP), the Women’s Democratic Forum (WDF), and the Progressive Student Federation.
Fatimah Quaider, a student organizer, told Arab News she knew people were “dying to get out and do something” to show support for Palestine, and hence she had started messaging people to coordinate a protest.
“Every night the bombings, it was becoming too much to bear — so I sent out three or four messages working on a plan and it’s spread like wildfire,” Quaider said. “People are coming for the protest because they are angry and heartbroken.”
“We all are here because there is a deafening silence all over the world and we are protesting against that silence,” said human rights activist Samar Minallah. “If we don’t speak up today it’s going to be us tomorrow.”
Protests were also held in Lahore, Karachi and other Pakistani cities.