ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s lower house of parliament on Monday passed a unanimous resolution against what the country’s foreign minister called the ‘unconscionable brutality’ of Israel against Palestinians.
Violence in the region entered a second week on Monday with no sign of an end to the fiercest hostilities in years, despite growing international concern and mounting calls for a ceasefire.
World concern had already deepened after an Israeli air strike in Gaza that destroyed several homes on Sunday and which Palestinian health officials said killed 42 people, including 10 children.
“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,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood 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.
It also condemned the “systematic and institutionalized oppression and domination” of the Palestinian people by the Israeli regime and the “deliberate destruction of buildings housing local and international media outlets” in Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem.
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.
The minister said he was flying to Turkey tonight from where he, along with the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sudan and Palestine, would fly to New York to demand a UN General Assembly’s session over the situation.
Mian Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, said Israeli forces had been attacking innocent Palestinian civilians since 1948, and urged the government to take a “firm stand” against the Israeli aggression.
“We are running against the time. Please do all possible lobbying to create awareness in the international community that Israel has nefarious ambitions against Palestinians,” he urged the government.
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 SC should hold Israel accountable for its war crimes & crimes against humanity; must promote full implementation of relevant @UN resolutions esp for realization of #TwoStateSolution,” Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN said on Twitter on Monday.
“Pakistan condemns Israel’s use of indiscriminate force killing 200+ #Palestinians;destroying infrastructure;assaulting worshippers #AlAqsaMosque ;expansion of illegal settlements;demolition of homes;targeting journalists/int'l media outlets in occupied Palestinian territories.”
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 Defence 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 Defence 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.