ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ rare move this week to formally warn the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and a global threat from the war.
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Guterres said the war in Gaza “may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security.” He invoked Article 99 of the founding UN Charter that allows him to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
The article has not been used for decades.
“Pakistan welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s decision to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter, to bring to the attention of the UN Security Council the dire security situation and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza,” the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson said at a briefing on Thursday.
“This decision of the Secretary General demonstrates his conscionable assessment of the catastrophic situation in Gaza … We join the Secretary General in his call to the international community to end the ongoing situation and avert a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Pakistan called on the Security Council to perform its responsibility to impose an “immediate and unconditional” cease-fire and protect the people of Gaza from an “impending genocide.”
The foreign office also called for an international conference for long-term peace on the conflict, saying durable peace would emerge from the internationally agreed two-state solution and from the creation of a “secure, viable, contiguous, and sovereign state of Palestine” on the basis of the pre-June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
The United States and close ally Israel oppose a cease-fire, arguing that it would only benefit Hamas. Washington has instead supported pauses to protect civilians and allow for the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Gaza’s Health Ministry says so far 16,015 people have been killed in the enclave of 2.3 million since Israel launched its offensive in early October. Guterres told the Security Council in his letter that there was no effective protection of civilians and that “nowhere is safe in Gaza.”