At the UN, Pakistan called for a comprehensive policy and genuine commitment by all parties for a negotiated solution to multiple crises in the Middle East.
Speaking in the Security Council debate on the Middle East, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that it would not be easy to restore peace and stability in the Middle East but called for a comprehensive policy and bold diplomacy, especially by those who wield power and influence with the principal parties, was essential, if the dire predictions were to be defied of disaster in the Middle East that abound today.
Condemning the so-called Jewish ‘nation state’ law, passed by the Israeli Parliament on 19 July, the Pakistani envoy said that such racist laws should have no place in today’s world as it provides a vivid manifestation of the legally enshrined policy of discrimination by Israel. “By ascribing ‘privilege’ purely on religious grounds, this ‘basic’ law relegates the indigenous Arab population to second-class citizens and also reduces the status of Arabic”, she asserted.
Historical facts, she said, cannot be re-written by legislative fiat. “We reject any attempts to diminish the legal standing of the Palestinians or to deprive them of their legitimate rights within their homeland”, she added.
The plight of the Palestinian people, Ambassador Lodhi said, has reverberated across this chamber for as long as the UN has existed, but sadly no end seems to be in sight to their suffering.
She noted that inaction by the Security Council over Palestine had led to a more proactive role by the General Assembly, to fill the void.
Thus, she said, the resolution overwhelmingly adopted by the Emergency Session of the General Assembly on 13 June, was a call for action for the Secretary General, to ensure protection of the Palestinian civilian population.
“We look forward to the Secretary General’s report outlining concrete and practical steps to alleviate the pain and suffering of the Palestinians”, she added.
She expressed Pakistan’s deep concern over the recent killings of over 130 innocent civilians by occupation forces and the loss of precious lives including of Palestinian children by the Israeli bombardment of the besieged enclave.
She said, “In the wake of the recent escalation, some have called for all sides to exercise restraint and to step back from the brink of renewed conflict”. But, she declared, “Much as any resort to violence is unacceptable, the Palestinian issue is, in essence, a struggle between an occupied people and an occupying power”.
Obfuscating this incontrovertible reality would be tantamount, she said, to drawing moral equivalence between the acts of the aggressor and the aggrieved. “This is clearly unacceptable” she added.
On behalf of Pakistan she commended the consolidation of democratic gains in Iraq and Lebanon as a result of recently held parliamentary elections and for turning a new page in their national quest for inclusive and representative political participation.
In conclusion Ambassador Lodhi also assured the 15-member Council of Pakistan’s continued support for negotiated settlements in other regional situations including Syria and Yemen, based on agreed frameworks and through inclusive political engagement.