ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address the “serious situation” in East Jerusalem after Israeli police attacked Muslim worshippers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Saturday.
PM Khan met with the OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen in Makkah on Sunday, the last day of his official three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he “called upon the OIC to play its rightful role in addressing the serious situation,” a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office said.
“Prime Minister strongly condemned the Israeli attack against Palestinians in Qibla-e- Awaal, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and reiterated his call on the international community to take steps to protect the Palestinians and their legitimate rights,” it added.
At least 90 Palestinians were injured by Israeli police in a crackdown on protesters in the Old City of Jerusalem, as tens of thousands of Muslims prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque located nearby.
A day earlier, over 200 protesters were injured after Israeli security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades on the Palestinians.
The late-night clashes in the old city of Jerusalem followed days of tension in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Israelis are trying to evict an entire Palestinian community and hand over their properties to ultra-extreme Jewish settlers.
Earlier on Sunday, President Arif Alvi also condemned the attacks, terming them as ‘apartheid’.
“It is a shame that Israeli apartheid against Palestinians continues. Atrocious attack on peaceful praying Muslims is given the usual media spin of ‘clashes,’” he said in a Twitter post.
“My brothers don’t lose hope,” he added.
“Time is near when International Politics will be based on morality & not on vested interests.”
Other top Pakistani leaders also condemned the crackdown by Israeli forces.
“Condemn in strongest terms the attack on innocent worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, first Qibla of Islam, by Israeli Occupation Forces in the holy month of Ramzan. Such brutality is against very spirit of humanity & human rights law,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a tweet, expressing Pakistan’s “steadfast support” for the Palestinian cause.
In a statement on Sunday, Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said that Israeli shelling on unarmed Palestinians was the “worst act of terrorism and inhumanity.”
Several opposition parties also echoed the government’s sentiment, with top opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif questioning the international community’s role in stopping the “worst human rights abuses” taking place in Palestine.
“There is no one to put a stop to Israel’s desire for occupation of more Palestinian lands,” he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Pakistani and Saudi leadership reaffirmed their full support for the Palestinian people.
In a joint statement issued late on Saturday, the two countries expressed their “full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self-determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders.”
They also recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine “in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions.”